Seferihisar Mayor Tunc Soyer gave an interview at the UCLG World Summit (United Cities and Local Governments) in Bogota, Colombia. The subject of the interview was on climate and energy:
- What concerns you most when it comes to climate change?
People in general don’t have enough information about climate change and therefore they are not sensible to environmental issues. The national governments assume that introducing laws and legislations is the adequate action for fighting climate change, but raising awareness of people is as important as making laws. The residents are the closest contact regarding environmental issues, they have the most detailed information about their area. Therefore if the people are not dedicated to preventing climate change or don’t participate or not allowed in decision-making processes, we would lack the driving power for a strong action.
- What single environmental or climate-related action do you think would impact your city the most?
I think focusing on renewable energy would trigger a great change. We are thinking of effective and local climate-related actions for a long time. Seferihisar has 300 sunny days a year and a strong wind-energy potential. We thought, if we could use the renewables instead of coal and electricity in Seferihisar, we could also contribute in this fight against climate change. Seferihisar Municipality is founding an energy production collective for installing a solar field. The solar field will meet the energy needs for some districts of the town and the capacity will be increased in the middle-term depending on the municipal financial resources.
- What change do you hope to see in your city and around the world in the next 10 years?
We hope that the residents and the policy-makers would have a higher level of awareness in terms of climate change. We hope the people opt for renewable energy resources, the businesses would align for saving the water resources and the environment. We strongly believe that the importance of revitalizing the agriculture and develop projects for encouraging the rural population to stay in the rural areas. We sincerely expect that our policies will pay off and we could slow down the emigration to bigger cities for better employment. We also hope that similar policies would be developed and implemented globally.
- What climate-related action have you taken in your city that you are most proud of?
Seferihisar Irrigation Project is a hallmark of our services. There were leakages and illegal uses on the irrigation lines. The unfiltered water through the lines were clogging the drip irrigation systems, which was a serious problem for the farmers. We renovated five kilometers of leaking lines used for irrigation of the fields between the Seferihisar Dam and the town. Filters have been installed to prevent mud and debris blocking the pipes. After the filtration we could install counters for the end-users to ensure fair distribution and pricing. We prevented illegal use of water and leakages. Thanks to the renewed system, the farmers can get water in all seasons. The continuous irrigation will increase bio-diversity and yield.