Zinc discharge at Black Sea port of Trabzon poses serious health risk, opposition says

A representative of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People Party has said that the improper transport and storage of heavy metals at the Black Sea port of Trabzon pose a serious health risk.

Haluk Pekşen, a CHP deputy elected from Trabzon was quoted by left-leaning Ileri Haber as saying:

The raw minerals, which contain very heavy metals including zinc, are stored in the open area at the port without any precautions. This material is harmful for the environment, and causes cancer among humans.

The public’s health is being neglected in order to make more profits, and state institutions have so far not taken the necessary precautions.

Storage area of Trabzon Port on Jan 10, 2018. / Haluk Pekşen
Storage area of Trabzon Port on Jan 10, 2018. / Haluk Pekşen

Pekşen said cancer is the main cause of death in the province, by a ratio of one out of every four.

"There are regulations for the storage and transportation of heavy metals", he said, explaining that isolated areas are needed, with limited contact with the outside. “But at the Trabzon port, they are stored under a viaduct with lots of traffic.”

Trucks discharging minerals near Trabzon Port on Jan 10, 2018. / Haluk Pekşen
Trucks discharging minerals near Trabzon Port on Jan 10, 2018. / Haluk Pekşen
Material are washed towards the sea near Trabzon Port on Jan 10, 2018. / Haluk Pekşen
Material are washed towards the sea near Trabzon Port on Jan 10, 2018. / Haluk Pekşen
Traces of material are seen near Trabzon Port on Jan 10, 2018. / Haluk Pekşen
Traces of material are seen near Trabzon Port on Jan 10, 2018. / Haluk Pekşen

Pekşen said that, when one of the trucks that brought the zinc minerals to the port had an accident, they washed the minerals into the sea, right next to another ship that was discharging wheat.

“1 million 250 thousand tons of coal, 1 million 100 thousand tons of wheat are imported from this port,” Pekşen said. "Food products beside carcinogens, without any precautionary measures."

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