Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands municipality has banned the use of plastic bags on its five inhabited islands.
The ban, which was issued by the council of the municipality, that is came into effect at the businesses of the islands by May 2016.
In 2011, the municipality decided to promote and encourage the use of papers bags, cloth bags, and string bags instead of plastic bags in the shops and markets, which take hundreds of years to decompose in nature if not recycled.
“In the future, starting from our kids, we wish to see all islands’ residents to protect our nature, environment and sea by using solid waste sorting bins,” said Volkan Narcı, the chair of Heybeliada-based Princes’ Islands Association for Life with Sea and Sports Club (ADYSK).
Several associations, including ADYSK, Islands City Council, Islands Foundation, Deep Dream Diving Center, Heyebeliada Volunteers Association and Island Volunteers, have joined their forces to realize the ban on plastic bags in the islands through campaigns.
The Princes’ Islands, a total of nine islands that are approximately 10 kilometers off Istanbul, are among the top tourist spots of the historical city with its preserved nature and wooden houses.
With the daily arrival of tourists, the islands’ population can reach up to 140,000.
Istanbul’s Kadıköy district imposed the same ban on plastic bags in 2010, making it the first place in Turkey to take a stand against the use of plastic bags as part of an initiative to protect the environment better.
Plastic bags are one of the main sources of environmental pollution, as they take many years to decompose. They also play a huge role in global warming due to their petroleum-based components. Every year, 500 billion plastic bags are produced for use as shopping or disposal bags.
The municipality has prepared 2,000 fabric bags to kick start the project and distributed informative flyers about the project to residents.