Acollective opening of nine public gardens in nine Turkish cities took place Thursday as part of the activities coordinated by the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change to mark Environment Week.
Mehmet Özhaseki, who was recently appointed as the new minister of environment, urbanization and climate change by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, conducted his first field investigation by visiting Adıyaman, one of the provinces highly impacted by the pair of earthquakes that struck the country’s southeast four months ago.
In line with the Environment Week celebrations, public gardens were opened in Adıyaman, Giresun, Düzce, Bursa, Bolu, Afyonkarahisar, Adana, Sivas and Erzincan, encompassing an area of nearly 1.5 million square meters of green space.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony at Adıyaman Eğri Çayır Public Garden, Özhaseki noted that the first project and the opening following the appointment of the new Cabinet is taking place in Adıyaman, recalling the scope of destruction the pair of earthquakes caused in the region, dubbed as one of the oldest settlement areas in the world.
“We are happy to be with our loyal, long-suffering compatriots in Adıyaman who suffered the damage in the earthquake zone. Our fellow citizens of Adıyaman were always with us in our good times and bad times. Today, we are opening our national gardens in nine provinces. At the same time, we will bring 9 million saplings together with the soil to plant. We live in a land like heaven, but let’s not forget that we are a land of earthquakes. In the last hundred years, there have been more than 60 earthquakes with the epicenter of 6.0 and over in Anatolia,” the minister said.
Recalling the unity in the aftermath of the February disaster, the minister thanked the president who assigned all the ministers, saying that the reconstruction period stands ahead.
He also provided information that the tender procedures for 180,000 new houses out of the 319,000 houses planned to be completed within one year have been completed.
Within the framework of Environment Week events, 9 million saplings will be symbolically placed in the soil in the next couple of days, the minister highlighted.
The first samplings were planted following the ceremony and the officials’ speeches.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended the ceremony via videoconference and reiterated the government’s goal for the extension of the nationwide public gardens project, stating: “We increased our target from 81 million square meters to 100 million square meters, and we have updated our public garden number to 500. A total of 189 gardens have been given to the service.”
In a separate statement on his official Twitter account the president said: “Today, we have opened our nine national gardens with a total size of 1.466 million square meters in nine different cities. May our public gardens, which will add beauty to our beautiful cities, be beneficial to our country and our nation.”
The public gardens, referred to as “millet bahçeleri” by the government, look to create a vast expanse of greenery in the middle of rapidly developing cities.
Nationwide activities, including forest walks, sea, lake and gulf cleaning, cycling, and waste collection, took place across Türkiye throughout the week to mark the occasion of Environment Week.
Declared after a presidential decree last year, the week aims to raise awareness for environmental protection.
Earlier this week, marking World Environment Day on June 5 and Environment Week, first lady Emine Erdoğan, a pioneer of the zero waste movement, once again highlighted the importance of the initiatives focusing on environmental protection.
“A large part of the waste we abandon to nature consists of products that can be reused and have not yet completed their life cycle. What kind of footprint we leave on the planet is entirely up to us!
“By making small changes in the daily lives of people, we can heal the world against the disease of climate change through an eco-friendly, waste-free life,” Emine Erdoğan said in a video message at the second session of the U.N. Habitat Assembly.
Source: Daily Sabah