“Since early 2000s, there have been efforts to make Iskenderun Bay into an industrial basin.
This has been made without planning the impact and consequences of industrial plants on health, animal husbandry or agriculture.”
Çukurova and Iskenderun Bay: Shared Destiny
Sadun Bölükbaşı / Chair, Adana Environmental and Consumer Association
Çukurova, formerly known as Cilicia, is a geographical, economic, and cultural region in South Anatolia that includes the provinces of Adana, Mersin, Osmaniye, and Hatay. With its population of 5.62 million, it is one of the most densely populated regions in Turkey. Starting from Anamur on the west, Çukurova stretches along the Mediterranean towards the east, extending as far as Tufanbeyli on the north, encompassing Iskenderun Bay. Its core area is the Çukurova (Cilicia) plain, which covers Mersin on the west, Kozan on the north, Osmaniye on the east and the Mediterranean on the south. Surrounded by the Taurus and Amanus Mountains, Çukurova is a territory of unique beauty with its face where the prevailing wind blows from southwest turned to Eastern Mediterranean. Iskenderun Bay, on the other hand, is where the Mediterranean and Çukurova embrace each other towards the inner parts of Anatolia. The air mass carried by the prevailing winds hit the Taurus Mountains with everything in it but cannot cross the mountains. The wind blowing in the direction of southwest pushes this mass towards the Amanus Mountains, but the mass cannot cross the Amanus Mountains, either, and then it leaves the moisture and all the other things in it on the Amanus Mountains as rain. That is why a polluter in the Mersin region does not pollute just that region but also Iskenderun. In short, the entire Çukurova and therefore Iskenderun Bay share the same destiny. Being aware of this, we as DAÇE (the Platform of Eastern Mediterranean Environmental Associations) are fighting to protect our right to live and our ecosystem with the support of such professional associations as the Adana Bar Association, Adana Medical Chamber, and Adana Chamber of Agricultural Engineers, and such producers’ associations as the Erzin/Yeşilkent Irrigation Cooperative, and Erzin Citrus Producers’ Association. If we look at the impact of climate change on Çukurova, according to predictions based on a study conducted by Çukurova University, TÜBİTAK, and the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN Japan), by the year 2070, the air temperature in the Seyhan Basin, the most of important basin of Çukurova, is expected to rise by 2-3.5°C, the precipitation to decrease by 25-35 %, the snow on the mountains to melt earlier, the amount of irrigation water to decrease, the agricultural product pattern to change, the dry and irrigated farming lands to be affected, the utilization pressure on underground waters to increase, and salty seawater to mix into the underground waters in coastal areas up to 10 km inland. In addition, according to the preliminary studies carried out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Mediterranean Basin, where the Seyhan Basin and Çukurova are located, has been identified as the most sensitive and vulnerable area to global warming. Climate change, which occurs as a result of global warming, causes and will continue to cause an increase in epidemics. In these days of COVID-19 outbreak we are going through, we are facing this reality as the whole world. Our region has first class agricultural lands. It is an important area for the production of all kinds of fresh vegetables and fruits, mainly citrus, wheat, peanuts, corn, and cotton, the production of other agricultural and
animal-originated food products, and fisheries. The region, which is also rich in clean drinking water resources, is unfortunately under heavy pollutant pressure. Our valuable clean food and water resources, which are the guarantees of our future, should not be sacrificed through unplanned industrialisation policies and practices. Iskenderun Iron and Steel Plant, Atlas Coal-Fired Thermal Power plant, and scrap iron and steel processing plants produce heavy pollution in the Payas region. Egemer Natural Gas Combined Cycle Power Plant in Erzin, the fertilizer plant in Ceyhan, the coal storage sites, Sönmez Cement Plant, and Yumurtalık Sugözü Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plant are the largest polluters in the region. The region, whose air is polluted by particulate matters and whose soil by heavy metals especially in Payas-Sarıseki, and which will be heavily affected by climate change, has no tolerance for new polluters. For this very reason, the Hunutlu Import Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plant project, which will poison the Iskenderun region and Çukurova, must be abandoned immediately.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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