Eylem Tuncaelli, president of the Istanbul branch of the Environmental Engineers' Chamber (ÇMO), discussed the new ban of cigarettes in closed areas by saying that the "smoke-free air space" policy ignores further important issues.
Tuncaelli states: "Unfortunately, it is impossible to speak of smoke-free air space in Turkey", pointing out that the harmful emissions from the Turkish cities of Dilovası and Yatağan are still surrounding people in the regions.
"Even without smoking cigarettes people get cancer"
In Dilovası by the Sea of Marmara the percentage of toxins in the air is 30 times higher than the standards given by the European Union. The regional industrial zone consists of 170 factories with approximately 15,000 workers. 495 deaths have been reported in this region between 1995 and 2004; for 32 % of them the reason was cancer.
Also in Muğla and Yatağan, cities in the south-west of Turkey, a thermal power plant has caused significant air pollution problems for years. Since 1982 the power plant has generated electricity by burning coal. The coal needed to generate electricity contains 4 % of sulfur. 1.3% of that sulfur is emitted into the air via the chimneys. Until now, the power plant has emitted more than 300,000 tons of sulfur oxide. Environmental experts call for a shutdown of the power plant.
"Existing regulations are not applied"
Tuncaelli criticizes: "Considering the examples of Yatağan and Dilovası, people are facing the risk of cancer even without being exposed to cigarette smoke."
"If the 'smoke-free air space' slogan is meant to be supported, it is much more important to reduce air pollution caused by the industry before banning cigarettes."
According to Tuncaelli, laws and regulations regarding the environment are not being applied. Factories run their production without chimney gas refinery systems. "The government has to control the industry gas emissions and has to apply the law." (EZÖ)
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