Popular national park faces coal-ash cloud threat
Erdinç Çelikkan - ANKARAIda National Park, a national park bordering the northwestern province of Çanakkale and the western province of Balıkesir, faces a major threat of being clouded with coal ash, as a coal power plant is planned to be built near the popular parkland.
The park, so far untouched and natural, could be exposed to inhalant ash and dust emissions during the construction of the Çırpılar Coal Power Plant, the planned coal power plant whose environmental impact assessment (ÇED) application was approved by the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry on June 10.
Any construction project planned in a protected natural area should comply with the ÇED procedure as a precondition of starting work, according to Turkey’s Construction Law.
The park faces a threat of being covered in coal-ash because 65 million tons of coal are expected to be used to run the Çırpılar Coal Power Plant in the 25 years after its opening.
Exhaust and dust emissions are also expected due to caterpillar use and excavation work during the construction of the plant.
Although the 150-page ÇED application file of the Çırpılar Coal Power Plant did not elaborate on the project’s expected negative impacts on the environment, the file underscored how constructing the power plant would contribute to Turkey’s national income.
An 845,000-square-meter area will be used as coal production facility and the produced coal will be burned in an open-air furnace in the Çırpılar Coal Power Plant, in which around 2.6 million tons of lignite will be consumed every year.
The power plant is planned to be constructed by the Taşzemin Construction, Mining and Energy Production Company. The company filed the ÇED application of the Çırpılar Coal Power Plant on May 10 to construct an ash storage area and a limestone furnace along with the power plant and the application was approved by the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry on June 10.
Limestone production also poses an environmental threat for the Ida National Park, as around 225,000 tons of limestone will be used a year to run the power plant after its opening. The limestone expected to be burned along with coal, however, will be supplied from the limestone furnaces around the project area, which means a breaking facility for the limestone will also have to be constructed at the heart of the green paradise.
Environmental activists has long stressed that Çanakkale’s Karabiga district is already home to 13 coal power plants, warning that this quantity not only threatens the environment but also human health.
Greenpeace had protested the construction of coal power plants over the Ida Mountains late last year, with its “Rainbow Warrior” ship, which is uses in protests, anchoring off the shores of Çanakkale after a 10-day tour along Turkey coasts.