Serious environmental problems, especially in the soil, wetlands, streams, and rivers may occur unless the 200 million tons of rubble waste generated after the earthquakes in Turkey is managed properly, said Professor Mustafa Öztürk, former Undersecretary of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation.
Following a video shared by T24 from Hatay, showing 18 million tons of rubble which was dumped on olive groves, many officials including Mustafa Öztürk shared a series of tweets regarding the issue.
According to Öztürk, the construction and demolition waste should not be dumped on agricultural land, forests, wetlands, or near lakes and rivers, as it causes permanent environmental pollution.
He recommended temporary storage areas to be identified in the quake-hit 11 cities, and noted that waste should not be allowed to be dumped in random places.
Today, 30 years of waste has been generated in the region in a few days. If these wastes are not managed properly, serious environmental problems occur, especially in the soil, wetlands, streams and rivers. For this reason, it must be managed properly. Wastes that are not properly managed cause ‘permanent environmental pollution’ where they are dumped.
Noting that mobile and fixed recycling facilities should be established in temporary storage areas to recycle the waste, he also underlines that, if managed correctly, over 90% of construction and demolition waste can be recovered, and it can become a valuable raw material again.
In another video shared by the Ecology Union, the rubble of the debris removed in Adıyaman was poured into the stream bed. Ecology Union warns that there is a great risk as the water in the stream bed could fill with asbestos and chemicals. In Adıyaman this could mix with the Atatürk Dam, the drinking water source of the region.
According to T24, 90,609 buildings in 11 provinces were destroyed or urgently needed to be demolished following the twin earthquakes that occurred on 6 February in Kurdish, Arab and Alevi populated areas in Turkey.