Pollution of Ergene River and Basin, Turkey

Description
The water sources that feed Ergene River and the agricultural lands that are irrigated with this water are being threatened by industrial and domestic wastes originating from regional factories, the quarries established in Istranca Mountains, unregulated industrialization and unplanned urbanization of the region. As a result, Thraces centuries old agrarian structure is coming to an end and the pollution in Ergene River is jeopardising the habitat of all living creatures. The inhabitants of the region are faced with severe costs every single day.

Basic Data
NamePollution of Ergene River and Basin, Turkey
CountryTurkey
ProvinceEdirne, Krklareli, Tekirda
SiteThrace
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Water access rights and entitlements
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesChemical products
Land
Rice
Sugar
Water
Live Animals
Sand, gravel
Wheat
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThere are about 2500 leather and textile factories in the Cerkezkoy, Corlu, Muratli and Luleburgaz quad, most of which being officially unlicenced.

Project Area (in hectares)20000
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population10000000
Start Date1990
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Development, State Hydraulic Works, Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation, all universities in Thrace
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersErgene Platform (consisting of 90 local and national NGOs), The Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA in Turkish acronym) (court case in progress), bar associations, professional chambers
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Trade unions
Women
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Villagers Trade Chambers
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Global warming
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Infectious diseases, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Otherdifficulties in access to water
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseApplication of existing regulations
Corruption
Institutional changes
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Compensation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Development of AlternativesProposed measures by Ergene Platform:

-Transition to agricultural industry

-Termination of unlicenced and also non-expedient factories

-Clustering of dispersed factories into industrial zones

-Inspection and restriction of use of water by the factories

-Establishment and operation of waste treatment plants within industrial facilities and municipalities

-Execution of punitive sanctions to the polluters
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Ergene Basin 1/100.000 Scale Environmental Plan is the first environmental plan in Turkey approved in 2004. Therefore, to have succeeded in terms of environmental justice, this plan should have been implemented. Whereas, according to the Thrace Sub-region Ergene River Basin Environmental Revision Plan prepared by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in 2009, Thrace is meant to be treated as Istanbuls backyard.

On the other hand, the Ergene River Basin Conservation Action Plan suggested by the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs in 2011 seems to have no aim but to pacify regional environmental organizations in light of these current facts.

At the same time, the projects that continue despite laws and regulations, rulings and even court decisions is proof enough for the case.

Sources and Materials
Legislations

Article No. 17/1 of the Turkish Constitution

Article No. 56 of the Turkish Constitution

Environmental Law No. 2872

Ergene River Basin 1/100.000 Scale Environmental Plan approved by the former Minister of Environment and Forestry, Osman Pepe in 13.07.2004

Thrace Sub-region Ergene River Basin Environmental Revision Plan approved in 24.08.2009

References

SMEs in Turkeys Textile Sector (2012)
[click to view]

Hakan Dedeoglu several articles and statements published in newspapers and magazines

Research Ass. Cagdas Dedeoglu The Environment-Safety Relationship in Turkey based on Ergene River Basin Case Analysis

Prof. Dr. Osman Inci Book

Prof. Dr. Faruk Yorulmaz Cancer Research

UN Joint Program MDG-F 2067 Harnessing Sustainable Linkages for

Links

Ergene Platform
[click to view]

Municipality of Vize:
[click to view]

Media Links

Facebook account of the Ergene Platform:
[click to view]

NTV News:
[click to view]

CNNTurk News:
[click to view]

CNNTurk News:
[click to view]

[click to view]

[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorHakan Dedeoglu
Last update08/04/2014
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