Turkey

'Turkey aims to achieve zero waste by 2023'

21st century to pass into history as 'plastic era', Turkey's First Lady Emine Erdogan says

Sengul Oymak Azbay and Sahin Oktay   | 25.10.2019
'Turkey aims to achieve zero waste by 2023'

KOCAELI, Turkey

The concept of cities need to be reinterpreted as it requires new solutions on transportation, security and waste management, Turkey’s first lady said on Friday.

Speaking at Kartepe Summit themed "Urbanization and Happy Cities" in the northwestern Kocaeli province, Emine Erdogan said the change cities are exposed to has been one of the main concerns of people from the past to the present.

She added that waste management has become one of the most important problems with the rise of migration to the cities.

"I’m afraid the 21st century will pass into history as the 'plastic era', instead of the technology or the information era," she said, and added: "Research shows that in 2050, amount of plastics swimming in the oceans will exceed that of the fish".

Turkey’s Environment and Urban Planning Ministry launched Zero Waste Project in 2017, with the support of the first lady.

"Initially, our public buildings are included in the system," she said.

Erdogan said their target was 100% zero waste to achieve by 2023, and also referred to the zero-waste-city Kamikatsu in Japan, as an example.

"Our cities should also become cities that can exist with renewable energy sources with minimum consumption.

"We are no stranger to this. Didn't we have a culture of saving in the past, when organic wastes turned into fertilizers and string bags were used instead of plastic bags?" she stressed.

Erdogan also said that everything starts at homes, adding "We must raise the awareness of our children. We have to tell them that plastics remain in the nature for thousands of years".

* Writing by Rabia Iclal Turan

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