* Photograph: Greenpeace
The report released by the Right to Clean Air Platform yesterday (May 7) has shown that the number of people who lost their lives due to air pollution-related illnesses in Turkey in 2017 is seven times higher than the ones who died in traffic accidents in the same year.
Between the years of 2016 and 2018, people in more than half of 81 provinces in Turkey breathed polluted air. Only in 2017, 52 thousand people lost their lives due to air pollution. The highest number of deaths caused by air pollution is measured in İstanbul.
Some highlights from the report are as follows:
13 percent of deaths could be prevented
- If the level of air pollution had been reduced to the values recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017, 13 percent of deaths caused by air pollution could be prevented.
- The province with the highest quality of air in 2018 was Maraş, where two coal-fired thermal power plants are already in operation and new plants are planned to be built.
- The only province of Turkey, whose level of air pollution meets the values recommended by the WHO, is Ardahan.
- In Gaziosmanpaşa and Güngören, two districts of İstanbul with the highest population density (over 40 thousand people per square kilometer), there are no air quality measurement stations.
At least half of Turkey breathed polluted air
- When the quality of air in Turkey in 2018 is compared with national limit values, more than half of 81 provinces of Turkey (56 percent) breathed polluted air.
- Since the air quality could not be sufficiently measured in 2018, the quality of air breathed by people in ten percent of 81 provinces is not known (the provinces of Eskişehir, Bolu, Kastamonu, Kırıkkale, Kütahya, Muş, Şırnak and Uşak)
- In 16 provinces of Turkey, the quality of air has been deteriorating over the last three years: Afyon, Ankara, Burdur, Bursa, Çorum, Denizli, Erzincan, Mersin, Kahramanmaraş, Manisa, Mardin, Muğla, Niğde, Osmaniye, Sakarya and Sivas.
- The highest number of deaths due to air pollution-related illnesses occurred in İstanbul, Bursa and Ankara in 2018.