İGA, which will be operating the İstanbul Airport for the next 25 years, will ensure that more than 10 million saplings are planted over an area of 50 km2 in total within the scope of the country-wide afforestation project. İGA has actualized the İstanbul Airport which is estimated to save 30.7 tons of CO2 annually thanks to its environmentalist features, and now will prevent 70,000 tons of CO2 emission on average every year following the completion of the country-wide afforestation project.
Following the magnificent opening on October 29, 2018, the flights commenced at the İstanbul Airport. After implementing the project, yesterday, İGA carried out in Arnavutköy the first one of the afforestation works that is to reach all of Turkey.
The first saplings were planted at the event that was organized by the joint efforts of İGA and Istanbul Regional Directorate of Forestry, hosted by H. Kadri Samsunlu, the CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of İGA, and Cahit Turan, the Republic of Turkey Minister of Transport and Infrastructure; Şahin Aybal, Deputy General Director at General Directorate of Forestry; İbrahim Yüzer, Head of Afforestation Department and Recep Ateş, Istanbul Regional Director of Forestry, attended the event.
Samsunlu, the Executive President and General Director of İGA Airport Enterprise,emphasized that the afforestation efforts would spread over Turkey and said, "We are talking about an afforestation activity that is planned to span two thirds of the total construction site for İstanbul Airport, which is 76.5 km2. We foresee the project to take 8 years in total, along with all plantation and maintenance works, and it will affect the entirety of Turkey. This will be one of the largest single afforestation projects realized under the roof of an institution, and we will thus make a significant contribution to the combat against desertification of Turkey, and prevent the loss of fertile soil due to erosion. The 10 million trees to be planted over 50 square kilometers in total at the end of 8 years will prevent the emission of 70,000 tons of carbon on average annually, and the loss of tons of fertile soil will be avoided. I would like to thank especially Bekir Pakdemirli, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, and also Cahit Turan, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, General Director of Forestry, the Head of Afforestation Department and Istanbul Regional Director of Forestry, who have always stood by us with their support since the gestation period of the project."
Stating that Turkey had carried out crucial afforestation activities in recent years,Recep Ateş, the Istanbul Regional Director of Forestry, added that "This zone of afforestation is called Terkos (Durusu) Lake Basin, and it fulfills a significant portion of Istanbul's drinking water requirement. Here, we owe the current situation to one of the world's largest sand dune afforestation projects that aimed to prevent the sea and the lake merging, and it consists of 2,100 hectares of afforestation work that began in the 1960s. Today by planting 80,000 saplings over 50 hectares of area financed by İGA, we hereby take the first step towards the aim of afforestation over 5,000 hectares in different provinces of Turkey. Moreover, Istanbul Regional Directorate of Forestry has planted 22 million saplings over 27,000 hectares of area in Istanbul during the last 16 years. We maintain our uninterrupted efforts to expand the forested lands of our Istanbul even more."
The afforestation works will begin in the Marmara Region, and spread over the whole country. The project is aimed to cover an area of 5,000 hectares in total, consisting of disrupted, scattered forest sites and in sites of combat against desertification and erosion.
The project is estimated to be completed over a period of 8 years in total, 5 years for sapling plantation activities and 3 years of maintenance works for each plantation site.