Near East University researchers completed the "Marine Waste Scientific Research Project", which they have been continuing for two years, and announced the results. The results of the project show that the Cyprus beaches, which are located in the center of the Mediterranean, are under great risk from the waste coming from neighboring countries. Near East University Faculty of Architecture Head of Landscape Architecture Department Prof. Dr. Özge Özden, Instructor Sinem Yıldırım, Near East University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Assoc. Dr. Wayne Fuller and University of Exeter Department of Biological Sciences Professor. Dr. The project carried out by Brendan Godley on the coastal marine litter accumulation in the TRNC was financed by the Near East University Scientific Research Projects fund. The results of the project, which was completed with 2 years of field work by scientists from different specialties, were published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, one of the high circulation scientific journals.
Karpaz Beaches Under Threat of Waste
Ronnas Beach, located on the Karpaz Peninsula, which is one of the most important breeding centers of sea turtles and the third largest breeding area of green sea turtles in the Mediterranean, is facing the danger of extinction. As a result of 2 years of work on Ronnas Beach, an average of 250 pieces and 1.114 kilograms of waste per month were collected from an area of 11,9 square meters. These wastes originating from Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Egypt, which have the shores of the Mediterranean, pose a great threat to Ronnas Beach.
Waste Originating from Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Egypt
In the project, where the source of the wastes was also investigated, it was determined that most of the wastes detected between January 2018 and January 2019 were from Lebanon, while the others originated from Syria, Israel and Egypt. Near East University Faculty of Architecture Head of Landscape Architecture Department and TRNC Presidency Tourism and Environment Committee President Prof. Dr. Özge Özden informed that most of the waste reaching the shores of the TRNC from neighboring countries consists of plastic materials. Prof. Dr. Özden stated that they detected different wastes such as “detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, food and beverage containers”.
All over the world, plastic waste reaching the sea threatens the ecosystem by endangering the life of sea creatures. Prof. Dr. Özge Özden says that plastic waste threatens the lives of many marine animals, especially whales, sea turtles, dolphins, fish species and water birds.
Very Urgent Solid Waste Recycling Projects Should Be Developed in TRNC
Head of the Near East University Department of Landscape Architecture and also the President of the TRNC Presidency Tourism and Environment Committee, Prof. Dr. Özge Özden says that the results of the project also reveal the importance of solid waste recycling projects. Stating that the most important environmental problems in the world and in our country are domestic wastes, Prof. Dr. Özden emphasizes that the accumulation in nature should be reduced by developing recycling projects for many wastes containing plastic, metal and glass.
Prof. Dr. Özge Özden: "96 percent of the waste polluting the beaches contains plastic."
Near East University Head of Landscape Architecture Department Prof. Dr. Özge Özden says that, within the scope of the project, they regularly collect all marine waste less than 250 centimeters in diameter every month from an area of 2,5 square meters determined on eight different beaches of the TRNC. A total of 59.556 pieces of waste were collected within the scope of the project. It was determined that the rate of plastic-containing wastes among different types of wastes was 96 percent. During the project, plastic bags, plastic parts, food and beverage containers and bottle caps were the most common wastes in terms of both weight and quantity.