Saros Gulf area should be planted due to court’s decision: Environmentalists
EDİRNE – Doğan News Agency
The areas on the shore of the Saros Gulf in the Keşan district of the northwestern province of Edirne should be planted with trees and greenery after a court decided against stone and limestone quarries operating there, a local environmental association has stated.
“The activities in the quarries should be halted immediately. The owners of the quarries should start planting the areas they have destroyed with greenery and bring the original view back,” said Bülent Kaçar, the lawyer of the Saros Gulf Mecidiye Tourism and Environment and Cultural Artifact Protection Association, on March 1.
“The state should make itself felt against these businesses and it should impose sanctions if the afforestation and restoration don’t take place in accordance with the legal regulations,” Kaçar added.
Following the appeal of the association and some local villagers against a decision by The Environment and Urban Planning Ministry to allow mining in the area, the administrative court in Edirne reached a verdict, indicating that “an environmental impact assessment (ÇED) report is necessary” for such activities in the mentioned places, according to Kaçar’s statement.
‘Lands and water are vital for life’
The Gulf of Saros, as well as its coasts and surroundings, were designated as a Cultural and Tourism Protection and Development Zone in 2006.
In 2010, the gulf was declared a Special Environmental Protection Area. The regulation reflected the fact that the gulf itself attracts many marine biologists and divers due to its variety of fish, sea plants and sponges.
Despite these regulations recognizing the natural and cultural assets in and around the Gulf of Saros, the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry gave permission to the quarries owners to operate without getting a ÇED report starting from March 2017.
Several quarries, some of them just 500 meters away from the sea, have been operating in the area since then.
“The [region of] Thrace is surrounded on three sides by the sea and is covered by forests. It is a region with three mountains and incredibly fertile agricultural lands. In this sense, the sources over the ground are much more valuable than the underground sources. We can’t exchange those underground sources with the Strandzha, Koru and Ganous Mountains, or with the Saros Bay, the Uçmakdere [Avdimio] neighborhood, the Dupnisa Cave or the İğneada National Park … Lands and water are vital for life not the mines,” said Kaçar.