5 JUNE- WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY
Since the 1972 United Nations Conference on Environment organized in Stockholm capital of Sweden, 5th of June is celebrated as “Environment Day” every year in order to raise awareness and promote action to protect the environment all over the world.
“Beat Plastic Pollution” has been set as the theme for World Environment Day 2018. It is a call to make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife and our own health.
Around the world, 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute. Every year we use up to 5 trillion disposable plastic bags. In total, 50 per cent of the plastic we use is single use. The plastic that ends up in the oceans can circle the Earth four times in a single year, and it can persist for up to 1,000 years before it fully disintegrates. Plastics also directly damages human bodies and its adverse effects reach up to our water and food by micro plastics.
Within the framework of Circular Economy Package, which is one of the long-term resource efficiency plans of the European Union, “EU Strategy for Plastics in the Circular Economy” has been adopted in 2018. The Strategy aims at ensuring all plastics packaging in the EU to be recyclable by 2030, reducing single use plastics and improving current collection and separation systems.
Turkey does its part on aligning and implementing the EU acquis also in the field of “waste management” within the framework of Chapter of “Environment and Climate Change” which was opened to negotiations on 21 December 2009. Alignment with the EU acquis on environmental protection contribute to improving the quality of air we breathe, ensuring sanity and hygiene standards for water intended for human consumption, providing extra input to the economy by encouraging re-use of waste, avoiding noise pollution in areas open to public and ultimately guarantee that future generations will live under healthier conditions.
National Waste Management and Action Plan was issued on 5 December 2017. With this Plan, state of play in 81 provinces has been analysed and separate collection of waste at source, recycling and recovering by different methods and introducing disposal methods have been aimed. Furthermore, “Zero Waste Project”, which has been initiated under the auspices of the Presidency of Republic of Turkey to be implemented throughout Turkey, targets to collect all types of waste (including plastics) separately and to reuse them in economy.
Each new step taken to implement the EU’s environmental standards in Turkey will further improve the life quality and well-being of our citizens. A clean environment coupled with balanced and prudent utilization of natural resources are key to improve our citizen’s life quality. In this regard, Turkey’s on-going accession negotiations with the EU act as a strong driving force for upgrading environmental standards in our country.