“Asbestos bomb” on its way to Turkey

“Asbestos bomb” on its way to Turkey
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The Turkish Medical Association vowed to oppose the dismantling of the Brazilian aircraft carrier in İzmir

The announcement that the decommissioned aircraft carrier “Sao Paulo” would sail to Aliaga, Izmir to be dismantled caused great backlash in Turkey. Environmentalist groups, associations, and NGOs protested the decision that was made public by the Ministry of Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change.

Tunc Soyer, Mayor of Izmir, tweeted “I learned that the Ministry for Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change gave conditional permission for the scrapping of the Brazilian warship carrying 600 tonnes of asbestos in Aliaga. Nobody should doubt that we will take the legal fight to overturn this decision to the end.”

The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) also issued a warning about the dismantling of the aircraft carrier. It said, “As the TTB, we respectfully announce to the public that we will pursue all scientific and legal efforts to prevent the entry of this ship, which is a great risk to public safety, to our country.”

The head of the Association for Asbestos Removal Professionals (ASUD) Mehmet Şeyhmus Ensari likened the aircraft carrier to an “asbestos bomb,” according to a report by Diken. "An asbestos bomb that can affect, and even kill, all residents of Aliaga is on its way,” Ensari said.

the Ministry of Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change refused claims in a statement given to NTV. According to the officials, experts checked the carrier again “following public concerns” and no “danger or risks were discovered.” The officials also emphasized that “if there is the slightest danger or risk the ship will be sent back without hesitation.”

The aircraft carrier Sao Paulo was decommissioned in 2018 and auctioned to the Turkish EU-listed shipyard Sok Denizcilik and Ticaret Limited for $1.9 million in 2021.

According to the official figures of the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change, 714 ships were dismantled in Aliaga in the last five years. As a result, approximately 250 tonnes of asbestos were disposed of.