Iskenderun Bay, where thermal power plants and many industrial enterprises are located, is under the threat of intense polluters. In addition to the existing polluters, there are efforts to implement the Hunutlu Coal-Fired Thermal Power Station Project on the Sugözü coast of Adana’s Yumurtalık district. China’s largest direct investment in Turkey, the project, which is currently under construction, is financed by the China Development Bank, Bank of China and ICBCwithin the scope of the Belt and Road Initiative. If the EMBA Hunutlu Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plant project, which will have a total capacity of 1320 MW with its two 660 MW units, is completed:
2.8 million tonnes of coal will be imported each year.
A second coal-fired thermal power plant situated only 1.8 km east of the Sugözü Import Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plant, which is located on the Sugözü coast and currently in operation, will have been established. Thus, the air quality of Adana will be severely affected, with the project adding on top of the pollution caused by the Tufanbeyli Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plant, located in the north of Adana, and the other existing polluters.
Sugözü Village, Herekli Neighbourhood, and Demirtaş Village, which are 1.5 km, 2.6 km, and 2.8 km away from the project respectively, will be directly affected.
Impact of the Project on air quality and public health
The pollutant particles (PM10) in the air in the centre of Adana is two times above the limit value specified in Turkey and four times above the values recommended by the World Health Organisation, and the air is unhealthy. In 2019, Adana breathed this polluted air for 236 days, 65% of the year. If it had been possible to keep air pollution below the limit values of the World Health Organisation in Adana, 2 thousand 72 deaths could have been prevented in 2019. This finding indicated that 1 out of every 5 people in Adana dies due to air pollution-related reasons.
Despite this pollution, the PM10 pollutant measurements in the 2014-dated Final Environmental Impact Assessment report of the Hunutlu Thermal Power Station exceed the limit values set forth in the Regulation on the Control of Industrial Air Pollution, updated for the protection of human health and harmonisation of the regulation with the EU legislation. While the establishment of the power plant will cause more premature deaths and a heavier disease burden, the power plant does not offer a detailed assessment on human health. Most of the power plants in Iskenderun Bay, which harbours coal-fired thermal power plants and heavy industry, do not provide instant data flow concerning air pollution. The people living in the region cannot follow the pollution, and the results from the flue gas measurements of the thermal power plants in the region are not shared even when requested. One of the basic indicators for the calculation of health impact, finer particulate matter, PM 2.5, is not measured in any power plant in Adana.
Impact of the Project on nature preservation and biological diversity
Sugözü Beach, where the thermal power plant project and onshore and offshore structures belonging to the Project are located, is among the major nesting sites of the green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) and loggerhead sea turtles(Caretta caretta) in Turkey. Sea turtles have been taken under protection by three international conventions:
The Bern Convention (Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats)
The United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity
The Barcelona Convention (Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution)
The establishment of a thermal plant in this area is also illegal according to the applicable legislation in Turkey. Pursuant to the Circular no. 2009-10 on the Protection of Sea Turtles issued by the Directorate General of Nature Conservation and National Parks (DKMP), this area is one of those sea turtles nesting sites to be protected and power plants cannot be established here.
Climate, energy and economic cost of the project
While developed countries abandon the use of fossil fuels and turn towards renewable energy investments, Turkey ranks second in the world and first in Europe in terms of the magnitude of its planned new coal investments in 2020.
In addition to some 30 coal-fired thermal power plants which are currently in operation, more than 30 new coal-fired thermal power plants with a total installed capacity of 33.5 GW are planned to be established. Should these projects be completed, it is estimated that these power plants will produce approximately 240 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Today, Turkey an installed power of 91 GW, whereas the peak demand in the recent year was recorded ay 45.5 GW. Considering the current supply surplus, there are question marks also about the profitability of the Hunutlu Thermal Power Plant in view of its investment cost of 2 billion dollars.
Impact of the project on the farming areas and agricultural activity in the region
Iskenderun Bay, where the project is planned, is located between the provinces of Hatay and Adana. Thanks to its favorable climatic conditions, Adana is quite important for Turkey’s agricultural production. Hatay, on the other hand, provides 20% of the citrus production in Turkey. Agricultural activities also constitute the main means of livelihood of the people living in the region.
The heavy metal pollution in the soil in Iskenderun Bay already exceeds the standards specified by Turkey and the World Health Organization. Studies conducted indicate that this pollution burden is directly linked to the intensive industrial activities in the region.
If the Hunutlu import coal-fired thermal power plant project is implemented, it will increase the cumulative pollution burden arising from the Isken Sugözü thermal power plant and other industrial activities and have a negative effect on agricultural production in the region.
What do we want? When all this information is taken into consideration, it is obvious that the Hunutlu Coal-Fired Themal Power Plant Project is not an acceptable project at a time when we must be leaving behind fossil fuels, which will poison the air, water and soil, and threaten public health in this era of climate crisis.
We do not need a new coal-fired thermal power plant in the region. What we need is #CleanAirForAdana for a healthy environment and a livable future!
"Unless we definitely quit building new coal-fired thermal plants and consider closing down the existing ones, it is clear that life will get even shorter in this region. This is what science is telling us."
“Yeni termik santral yapmadan, nükleer gibi bir belaya bulaşmadan, enerji verimliliğini ve yenilenebilir enerji kaynaklarını devreye sokarak bir enerji dönüşümü gerçekleştirebiliriz. Bu da hem Türkiye’nin havasını temizler hem de istihdam yaratarak ekonomiye katkı sağlar.”
Geçen hafta #AdanayaTemizHava kampanyasını başlatan kuruluşlar, Çin bankalarından kömür yerine temiz enerjiye finansman sağlamasını istedi ve kömür santralinin hukuksuzluğuna ve neden olacağı çevresel yıkıma dikkat çekti.
Hunutlu İthal Kömürlü Termik Santral projesine karşı #AdanayaTemizHava kampanyası başladı
Clean Air For Adana
The Clean Air for Adana Campaign was launched cooperatively by local, national, and international organisations working in the fields of climate and environmental protection. For further information, please visit the “About Us” section of our website. The information and materials on the website may be disseminated. Contact us: email@example.com.
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