At least 42,000 people lost their lives due to air pollution in Turkey in 2021 according to the report of the Right to Clean Air Platform (THHP), online news outlet Diken reported on March 24.
Air pollution is the fifth leading cause of death in Turkey. In the same year, 4,848 people in Istanbul, 2,853 in Ankara, 2,223 in Bursa, and 1,731 in Izmir lost their lives due to air pollution-related diseases.
According to the report, the social groups most adversely affected by this vital problem are poor segments of the society who are exposed to air pollution, environmental factors, and occupational hazards.
The top five Turkish cities that had the most polluted air in 2021 were Eastern provinces of Batman, Iğdır, Ağrı, Şırnak, and Malatya.
The report stated that legal limits for pollutants in Turkey are well above the World Health Organization's (WHO) air quality guidelines and the regulations are not updated according to international suggestions.
According to the report, air quality in Turkey is not adequately monitored. The report found that there are no air monitoring stations near eight out of the 13 oldest and dirties thermal power plants. Also, most of them do not have the required filtering infrastructure required by the regulations.
The THHP, which consists of 15 NGOs and professional organizations working in the fields of health, nature protection, and climate, works to reduce air pollution caused by environmental pollutants to protect public health and defend the right to clean air.
According to the European Union's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), Turkey also was the country most affected by natural fires and related air pollution in the Mediterranean basin in 2021.