Greenpeace has announced that Turkey was the biggest importer of plastic waste from European countries in 2020.
According to the statement, Turkey’s plastic waste import increased by 13 percent in a year and 241 truckloads of plastic waste came to Turkey every day last year. The amount of plastic waste coming to Turkey from Europe has seen a 196-fold increase in the last 16 years.
Raising concerns about the issue, Greenpeace has noted that “following China’s ban on plastic waste import in 2018, the new destination for plastic waste has become Turkey, where plastic waste import is increasing incrementally with each passing year.”
‘Either dumped in nature or burned’
Most recently, the pictures taken by Greenpeace in Adana province manifested that most of the plastic waste imported from other countries had been either dumped in nature or had been burned.
Another trip made to the province in April 2021 has shown that the situation has not changed. The images taken at the site have revealed that the waste imported from Europe is dumped in nature or burned.
Launching a project with the slogan “Don’t let Turkey become a dumping ground for plastic waste”, Greenpeace has been demanding an immediate ban on plastic waste import, raising concerns about its detrimental effects on nature and marine life as well as on human health.
A 13-percent increase
The data compiled by Greenpeace Mediterranean from the European Statistical Office (EuroStat) and the United Kingdom (UK) Office for National Statistics briefly say the following about Turkey:
- The total amount of plastic waste imported by Turkey from the European Union (EU) countries and the UK was 659,960 tons in 2020.
- The amount of plastic waste that came from Europe to Turkey was 582,295 tons. Plastic waste import increased by 13 percent in a year.
- Turkey once again became the biggest importer of plastic waste from Europe in 2020. Turkey met 28 percent of Europe’s need for plastic waste import.
- Plastic waste import of Turkey has seen a 196-fold increase in the last 16 years (since 2004).
- The top five exporters of plastic waste to Turkey in 2020 were as follows: The UK (209,642), Belgium (137,071), Germany (136.083), the Netherlands (49.496), Slovenia (24.884).
‘Don’t let Turkey become a dumping ground’
Commenting on the findings, Greenpeace Mediterranean Biodiversity Projects Leader Nihan Temiz Ataş has underlined that “it is impossible for Turkey to reach its ‘zero waste’ target with the incrementally increasing amount of plastic waste imported into the country.”
Temiz Ataş has reminded the public that as a result of the Greenpeace project of “Don’t let Turkey become a dumping ground for plastics”, the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization lowered the quota of plastic waste import. “We said that this was a nice step, but was not enough,” Temiz Ataş has noted, raising concerns that “as far as they see from the data and in the field, Turkey is still Europe’s biggest dumping ground for plastics.”
Underlining that this increase in the amount of plastic waste import has been ongoing since the quote was lowered, she has said that “this situation indicates the necessity to tighten the inspection mechanisms.”
According to Temiz Ataş, the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization announced in January that they aimed to have zero waste import.
Greenpeace has called on the Ministry to fulfil this aim as soon as possible, to unveil an urgent action plan to ban the plastic waste import and to step up mechanisms of inspection and transparency.