Izmir joins WWF’s fight against plastic pollution
Izmir commits to stop any source of plastic leakage into nature by 2030, mayor signs letter of intent with WWF
By Dilara Hamit
Turkey’s third-largest city Izmir on Friday made a full commitment to support World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) no plastics in nature campaign.
The mayor of the city signed a letter of intent with WWF which has docked its Blue Panda sailboat off the city’s coast to mobilize people against plastic pollution.
Tunc Soyer in his speech said he was glad to host the sailboat.
“Pollution is a great threat for us as well, it destroys the future of all living things,” Soyer said.
Soyer said that they have decided to join the plastic waste-free cities network to pioneer the prevention of plastic pollution in the seas.
Izmir with its 4.3 million population is facing a huge problem with pollution.
WWF stated that the Aegean coast has record-level of plastic contamination in which each kilometer/mile of its coast receives 7.2 kg (15.8 lbs) of plastic debris every day, more than the average in the Mediterranean which is 5kg per km (11 lbs/miles) in a day.
Turkey’s WWF chairman Ugur Bayar said that he was excited to be in a partnership with Izmir.
“Today, about 80% of the plastic waste in the seas is sourced from land; most of it is transported from urban areas to seas by rivers.
“Regarding that cities will grow to accommodate two-thirds of the global population by 2050, cities like Izmir should continue to adopt such smart solutions,” Bayar said in his speech.
He noted that the issue can only be solved with the cooperation and coordination of the government, producers, local administrations, non-governmental organizations and environmentally conscious citizens.
“In order to prevent eight million tons of plastic waste entering the seas worldwide every year, new policies should be developed, new incentives for the production sector should be introduced and on the consumption side, new creative models should be adopted for avoiding plastics, reducing plastic usage, increasing reuse and effective waste management,” the WWF statement said.
“Izmir has agreed that its annual progress on this matter be monitored and reported by signing the letter of content,” it added.
Among all Mediterranean countries, Turkey is the number one in terms of being affected by the plastic pollution in the Mediterranean Sea.
WWF stated that the main reasons for plastic pollution are tourism and recreational activities and insufficient recycling.