Environment and Urbanization Minister Mehmet Özhaseki has said that Turkey is one of the countries that pollutes the planet the least: "We are nearly at the bottom of the list of countries that pollute the world."
For World Environment Day on June 5, Özhaseki visited the Bottom Mud construction site and the Flower of Love areas on Mogan Lake and participated in seed planting programs.
Giving a speech before the visits, Özhaseki expressed his hope that every day be pure and healthy, suggesting that the environment issue is one of the most popular issues on the world agenda in recent years. The minister focused on the world's common sensitivity to the issue. Özhaseki reiterated that last year an international meeting on the environment was held with the participation of nearly all countries in the world.
Özhaseki said that humanity used to produce and consume very little up until 100 years ago, meaning that total waste was less, much of which decomposed in nature on its own.
Remarking that consumption increased along with the boom in urbanization and production caused by the Industrial Revolution, Özhaseki said: "As a result of the situation, discarded waste constituted enormous masses and problems started to come to light. The ecosystem was spoiled. In fact, what was ruined was humanity itself as a result of the Industrial Revolution."
Reiterating that purifying and discarding waste without spoiling nature is becoming a serious problem, Özhaseki said: "Scientists say the world population will reach 9 billion in the 2050s. However, humanity won't consume less in the future. On the contrary, the human race will consume more by the day. Thus, the waste problem will become much more serious in the future. These three signs are of high importance for the issue. First, the earth's surface temperature increased 1 degree Celsius within the last century. Scientists try to fix the fluctuation at 1.5 C. Their last option is to keep it under 2 C. Living conditions may also become impossible to deal with if the earth's temperature increases 3 C to 4 C. When it comes to the second point, it is seen that water level increased about 19 centimeters. Finally, there is an increase up to 40 percent in carbon dioxide emissions. All these have to be decreased to some level. The earth, water, air and energy are absolute musts for life. The situation gets worse every single day. Meetings are held to solve the issue. Turkey has participated in and acceded so many contracts. Although we are one of the countries polluting the earth the least, we have been a part of all contracts since the early 2000s, especially in term of the Justice and Development Party [AK Party]."
Underlying the importance of trust, Özhaseki said that all the blessings in life like our bodies, lives, loved ones, children and the environment are entrusted to us, adding: "We have to preserve all of them. If we evaluate all our relations with nature under the concept of trust, they all make a sense."
Özhaseki underlined that the balance between the environment and investment must be preserved, adding: "The environment must be protected while making investments. Turkey ranks nearly at the bottom of the list of countries polluting the world, while India is nearly at the top of the list. Then comes China with a rate of 20 percent and the U.S. follows China with a percentage of 17.89."
Özhaseki said that 61 percent of the solid waste thrown out by Turkey's population is collected and processed and the remnants are turned into fertilizer and compost before being left in nature.