Turkey, neighbors to clean up Mediterranean
After being the last G20 country to ratify the 2015 Paris agreement, Turkey pledges to do a better job addressing the threats posed by pollution in the Mediterranean sea.
Turkey and several of its neighbors pledged Friday to start doing a better job when it comes to addressing the threats posed by pollution on people's health and the natural habitats of the Mediterranean sea.
The Mediterranean sea has been suffering from pollution and its repercussions, as plastic waste has ravaged the region's tourist attractions. The Mediterranean's coasts have been seeing slimy mucilage forming on them.
Both the aforementioned factors - and many more - have caused the voters in the tourism-dependent Mediterranean to give the environment more importance following the environmental problems the region sustained.
21 regional nations have agreed at a four-day meeting ending Friday in Turkey to slash the use of sulfur in ship fuel in response to the massive wave of public unease.
Their decision to reduce the sulfur content of the fuel to 0.1% from 0.5% in the Mediterranean will be submitted to the International Maritime Organization.
Mediterranean countries and the European Union hope the limit on sulfur use will ultimately save lives and help mitigate the environmental issues the region is facing.
Once the decision is approved, the cap will come into force in January 2025.
"We expect that through the implementation of this decision, there will be an important reduction of pollution coming from ships," said Tatjana Hema, coordinator of the Mediterranean Action Plan at the United Nations Environment Program.
Air pollution exacerbated by sulfur content in fuel hurt not only the sea but also contributes to 60,000 annual premature deaths, experts estimate.
The EU led the effort to reduce sulfur content in fuel, said Patrick Child, deputy director-general for the environment at the European Commission.
Turkey, the last G20 country to put the 2015 Paris climate agreement into force, has been under fire over its treatment of its water.
Scientists attributed the slimy mucilage to Turkey's failure to properly treat agricultural and industrial waste before it reaches the sea, whose unusual warmth - caused by climate change - creates ripe conditions for algae to grow out of control.