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31.10.2008

Sea polluters to be watched via satellite

In the battle against sea pollution, Aegean authorities continue to treat waste from thousands of boats as they call for environmental sensitivity. Their next move, however, may be to enlist a spy in the sky.

Authorities are considering putting the popular bays of Göcek, Ölüdeniz, Fethiye, Akyaka, Marmaris, Bodrum and Datça under satellite surveillance to expose boats and yachts that are polluting the sea.

The Göcek mayor Recep Şatır told the Anatolia news agency that the municipality was working with the Turkish Maritime Environment Protection Association, or TURMEPA to battle pollution. "TURMEPA has a boat traveling the bays all day, collecting bilge from boats that we then transfer to our waste treatment facility." said Şatır.

Şatır said Göcek's four marinas host approximately 1,000 boats during summer and winter. "Additionally, 15,000 to 20,000 boats visit Göcek's bays every year. It is the duty of everyone to preserve the environment from the wastes of these boats." Şatır asked for sensitivity from every boat owner visiting the area, explaining that pollution makes everybody's lives more difficult.

Satellite surveillance

Ahmet Çalca, mayor of Akyaka, said they have a biological purification plant in town built by the Environmental Protection Agency for Special Areas, or EPASA. "This facility has the capacity to purify a cesspool being used by 25,000 people. There are no other purification plants at Gökova Bay." Çalca, too, called for sensitivity from everyone to preserve natural beauty for future generations.

"According to environmental agreements, fishing and touring boats must deliver waste to licensed firms. Coast guards are constantly checking cruise boats for documents proving they are compliant," said Çalca, adding that boat owners who drop waste into the sea may be fined up to YTL 35,000.

Çalca said it is possible to detect sea-polluting boats with satellite surveillance. He said Ahmet Altıparmak, governor of Muğla, came up with the idea and work is in progress to detect sea polluters instantly.