Coal’s unpaid health bill in Turkey

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The Unpaid Health Bill - How coal power plants in Turkey make us sick

Wednesday, 20 May 2015 - Coal power plant capacity in Turkey is set to almost double over the next four years adding significantly to already high health costs, according to a new HEAL report launched.

The report provides the first-ever figures on the costs to public health from existing coal power plants in Turkey, revealing that the total costs are up to 3.6 billion EUR per year (10.72 billion Turkish Lira) covering costs of premature death, chronic lung disease and heart conditions associated with exposure to polluted air from coal plants.

- Download the full report here - English - Turkish
- Download the Executive Summary here - English - Turkish
- Press release - English- Turkish

The report is endorsed by six leading medical and health associations in Turkey, including the Turkish Medical Association, Doctors for the Environment Turkey, Turkish Occupational Medicine Society, Turkish Respiratory Society, Turkish Society of Public Health Specialists, and Turkish Thoracic Society.

Medical leaders in Turkey say that to protect people’s health and the climate, Turkey’s drive for coal has to be reversed. Dr.Bayazıt İlhan, President of the Central Council of Turkish Medical Association (below left), who wrote the preface to the report, says:

“A large coal-fired power plant emits several thousand tons of hazardous air pollutants every year and has an average lifetime of at least 40 years. The plans for a massive increase in investment would mean that coal’s contribution to respiratory and cardiovascular disease would continue for decades. This unhealthy future has to be avoided. We would like to see the Turkish government detaching itself from this polluted and outmoded source of energy.”

Further testimonies available here - English- Turkish

Toolkit: Coal power generation and health in Iskenderun Bay, Turkey

Brussels, Hatay/Turkey, Monday 15 February 2016 – The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) has launched a new toolkit on coal power generation and health in Turkey. The aim is to support local health professionals and community groups engaged in initiatives to prevent new coal power plants from being built.

The toolkit entitled “Coal power generation and health in Iskenderun Bay, Turkey” (1) focuses on south-eastern Turkey which is already an industrial hot spot. The pollution from 16 new coal plants in the pipeline would greatly increase the already existing health burden.

Contents of the toolkit

The toolkit brings together a case study of the health and environmental situation in Iskenderun Bay, with statements from local health professionals.

It provides information on:

- Key air pollutants and air quality in the major cities

- What is needed for a complete assessment of air quality in the region

- How to track down coal projects

- Gathering evidence on health and environmental impacts.
It also gives examples of successes that the Turkish health and medical community have had, and highlights relevant country and international initiatives.

Further information:
(1) English version of the toolkit:

Turkish version of the toolkit:

(2) Press release following the launch of the toolkit (in English)

Press release following the launch of the toolkit (in Turkish)

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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Phone: +32 2 234 3640
Fax: +32 2 234 3649
Press: Elke Zander

Direct telephone numbers: HEAL team page.

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