Healthy Air, Healthy Climate

Dr. Sadun Bölükbaşı, a cyclist and physician living in Adana, Turkey, wears an LED light mask showing real-time measurements of local air pollution. Red is more than five-times World Health Organization recommended limits.

With a population of 1.7 million, Adana lies at the southern part of Turkey, in the heart of Çukurova, which is rich in agricultural production and home to 6 million people. Even though Adana hosts several natural reserves such as Yumurtalık Lagoon and Akyatan Lake, it shares the same destiny of Cukurova Bay that covers Adana, Hatay and Mersin cities. Unfortunately, due to its geographical conditions and seaways, in Cukurova Bay there are 2 active coal power plants with 2410 MW installed capacity, 10 steel-iron plants, one natural gas fired plant (900 MW), one oil-fired thermal power plant (220 MW) that contribute to air pollution in Adana. [1]

According to World Health Organisation (WHO) calculations, Adana’s residents breathe levels of fine particulate matter, PM 2.5, that are 2.8 times higher than the WHO’s safe levels.[2]According to official air quality measurements, in 2015, only 1 out of 4 official air quality measurement stations in Adana measured annual PM10 levels below of the WHO’s recommended levels.[3]

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Better Air Quality Monitoring

Turkey officially measures air pollution in all its 81 cities with 197 stations including Adana. [4] However, only PM10 and SOx (sulphur oxides) are measured, not smaller particles, PM2.5 – which are more critical for human health. Moreover in 2015, only 1 out of 4 official air pollution measurement stations in Adana measured annual PM10 levels less than WHO’s recommended levels.[5]

To protect public health from air pollution, we must accurately measure the air quality. Tell the Ministry of Urban and Environment that we need to measure PM 2.5 levels and all air quality measurement should be available to the public 7/24.

As a Turkish citizen, you can express your demands and ask about the air pollution levels in your city by using the acquisition of knowledge system of Turkish Ministry of Urban and Environment. You can use our example letter below or write one of your own.