International Project for Air Quality Awareness from the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization

Project for Improving Air Quality and Increasing Public Awareness in Cities in Turkey financed by the Republic of Turkey and the European Union is being carrying out in 31 provinces in Turkey. Within the scope of the project, studies will be done to help municipalities, decision makers, children, women and society realize and understand the air quality management, and to raise awareness on this issue.

The project was promoted in Konya, within the scope of the European Mobility Week activities, with the participation of the Head of EU Delegation to Turkey Ambassador Christian Berger and the General Director of the European Union and Foreign Affairs of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, Mehrali Ecer.

In order to draw attention to the project, a group of bicyclists departed from Ankara, from outside the front of the building of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, and pedalled to Konya. Through a series of events held in Konya that is the city having the highest cycling rate with %2.5, the contributions individuals can make to breathe fresh air were explained to Turkey. The message of “If you also want to breathe fresh air; use public transport, walk and cycle more”was given.

Air pollution, which is now one of the biggest environmental problems all over the world, has become a problem threatening even the most basic right to breathe clean air. Poor quality fuels used especially in industry and residences and the increasing the number of vehicles used in transportation are the main factors that negatively affect air quality. It is not possible for this pollution, which causes health problems, physical damage and economic losses, to be cleaned by human hands after it forms in the atmosphere.

POOR QUALITY AIR IS THE CAUSE OF ONE OF EVERY 8 DEATHS IN THE WORLD

The Ministry of Environment and Urbanization continues its efforts to provide a more liveable environment in terms of air quality and to reduce the level of pollutants causing air pollution to the limit values ​​specified in the European Union directives. Now, a new study has been added to these studies. The CityAir Project, project funded by the European Union and the Republic of Turkey and implemented under the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, aims to increase the quality of the air that citizens breathe and therefore the quality of life and to raise public awareness, within the scope of the European Union Environmental Acquis and in accordance with the contracts of which Turkey is a contracting party.

PROJECT INTRODUCED WITHIN EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK

The project was promoted in Konya, within the scope of the European Mobility Week celebrated between 16-22 September, with the participation of the Head of EU Delegation to Turkey Ambassador Christian Berger and the General Director of the European Union and Foreign Affairs of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, Mehrali Ecer. Through a series of events held in Konya that is the city having the highest cycling rate with %2.5, the contributions individuals can make to breathe fresh air were explained to Turkey. The message of “If you also want to breathe fresh air; use public transport, walk and cycle more” was given..

A series of studies will be carried out for air quality-based inventory and modelling in different provinces of Turkey, within the scope of the CityAir Project. The project will also organize numerous awareness and improvement activities in different cities of Turkey for 36 months. The project covers Aydın, Denizli, İzmir, Manisa, Muğla, Uşak, Adana, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Kilis, Mersin, Osmaniye, Amasya, Çorum, Giresun, Ordu, Samsun, Sinop, Sivas, Tokat, Afyon, Aksaray, Antalya, Burdur, Isparta, Karaman, Kayseri, Konya, Nevşehir and Niğde provinces.

CHRISTIAN BERGER: “NOTHING IS MORE VALUABLE THAN THE BREATH WE TAKE”

Stating that almost 6.5 million people in the European Union suffer from diseases such as paralysis, asthma and bronchitis due to air pollution every year, Head of EU Delegation to Turkey Christian Berger continued as follows, “The life expectancy of more than 400 thousand people every year decreases due to air pollution. However, nothing is more precious than breathing. This is the reason of why we are working to bring European Union standards to the highest level and closely monitor the air quality in cities. We are pleased to share our knowledge and experience in this field with the government of Turkey and municipalities. The CityAir Project ensures that these standards will be implemented in Turkey’s many cities, including Konya.”

Berger expressed that according to researches, people who ride bicycles live two years longer than those who do not and 25-minute of walking prolongs human life by an average of 7 years. Emphasizing that the health impact of air pollution on the economy has reached billions of dollars all over the world, Berger said, “The full implementation of the fight against air pollution in the European Union creates an additional cost of 2 billion Euros annually. On the other hand, reduction of health and environmental expenditures provides indirect gains of 40 to 140 billion Euros. In summary, the investments for environment are never wasted”.

MEHRALİ ECER: “WE AIM TO INCREASE THE QUALITY OF LIFE”

Speaking at the introductory meeting, General Director of the European Union and Foreign Affairs of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, Mehrali Ecer expressed, “With the CityAir Project, we aim to increase the quality of the air our citizens breathe and their quality of lives”

Stating that the project aims to increase the technical and administrative capacities of the competent authorities in order to take measures to improve air quality, Ecer also noted that studies will be carried out within the scope of the project to help municipalities, decision makers, children, women and society realize and understand the air quality management, and to raise awareness on this issue. Ecer continued as follow;

“The quality of the air we breathe directly affects our lives. One of every 8 deaths in the world is caused by poor air quality. To improve the air quality in our country and all over the world and to leave the world a healthy future, we say “clean air, better life”, and we are trying to raise Turkey’s air quality. With the CityAir project, clean air action plans of 31 provinces will be updated. Emission reduction strategies will be set at the provincial level. The title of the European Union Environmental Acquis on Air Quality will be put into practice and implemented. In line with this goal, we aim to encourage people to increase the quality of life in their own cities by creating and developing public awareness.”

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