Microplastic Research Group
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Turkey’s plastic waste import issue is a problem that we have been working on for a long time. There is no study that measures the perception of society on this issue, which is mostly brought to the agenda with illegal waste dumping and incineration activities. Therefore, revealing society’s perception of waste imports will help decision-makers take these activities more seriously.

This study was carried out by the Microplastics Research Group with support from GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives). Data collection of the research was carried out by Eksen Research. A total of 1078 people (48.6% male and 51.4% female) in 25 cities across Turkey were interviewed to assess their knowledge/perception with regard to environmental problems and waste imports using the CATI (phone call) method. Considering the news sources that the participants follow, they stated that 61.8% of the audience receives news from social media, and among this audience, 43.9% use Twitter, and 54.2% use Instagram the most. In order to understand the sensitivity of the participants to environmental issues, they were asked to give a score between 0 (not sensitive at all) and 5 (extremely sensitive), and 88.2% of the participants stated that they were sensitive (4) or extremely sensitive (5). The participants were asked to rank the environmental problems according to their importance, and they gave the answers to air pollution, climate change and plastic pollution as the three most important problems, respectively. The participants were asked whether they had heard of plastic waste imports, and 45% of the participants stated that they had heard of it. The question ‘Should Turkey import plastic waste?’ was directed to the participants, and 61% of the participants responded as “No.” The answers given to whether plastic waste should be imported by those who have or do not have knowledge about plastic waste import were examined. Accordingly, those who have and do not know about plastic waste imports answered that plastic waste should not be imported at the rate of 66.5% and 56.8%, respectively.

52% of the participants stated that they heard about Turkey’s waste imports from the internet and social media platforms. In addition to all these questions, when the participants were asked how they feel about that Turkey imported about 800 000 tons of plastic waste from the EU countries, the UK, and the US last year, 41.6% of the participants stated that they had negative thoughts. As a result, with this study, it is understood that the awareness of Turkish people about waste import is not at a sufficient level, but the majority of those who have awareness have negative opinions. In this case, the share of news studies carried out with the information provided by our research group cannot be denied.

The full report can be found at this link.