Over 60 percent of 15 Turkish cities have been reserved for mining activities, a study by the Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion (TEMA) has found, revealing the scope of the environmental damage given to the country.
Some mining licenses were issued for forested areas and some were for pastures, the weekly newspaper Oksijen reported, adding that the TEMA study completed in two years focused on industrial mines.
Licenses were issued for some 79 percent of the Kaz Mountains, which is being tried to be saved by environmentalists. A total of 1634 mining licenses were issued for the region within the borders of Çanakkale and Balıkesir.
Artvin, Eskişehir, Zonguldak, Bartın and Ordu are provinces with over 70 percent reserved for mining, TEMA also said.
Worryingly, 58 percent of forested areas and 60 percent of agricultural land were reserved for mining, the NGO noted, adding that mining licenses were issued for protected areas as well.
A whopping 51 percent of natural parks, which house rare species, were allocated to mining. Some 97 percent of the natural parks in Zonguldak, Tekirdağ and Kırklareli face destruction due to the activity.
TEMA head Deniz Ataç told Oksijen that areas that mining activities are carried out can't be restored, but that mining without damaging the environment is possible.