Muhammet Kaçar / Artvin, Aug 27 () - Catastrophic rain that killed eight people in the Black Sea region of Artvin has revealed an illegal dumping site, as floodwater dragged piles of garbage towards the coast.
As garbage filled the coastal roads of Artvin, it came to light the Hopa and Arhavi municipalities had been illegally dumping waste on an area on the backside of a mountain’s outskirts.
Following the disastrous rain and landslides of Aug. 24, floodwater washed away the area between the district’s Çamlıkköy and Fener neighborhoods, causing piles of garbage to accumulate along the city’s shores.
The mayor of Hopa, Nedim Cihan of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), has assumed responsibility for the accumulation of waste on the mountain’s outskirts.“This area has been used as a dumping site for years. From time to time, we also dumped garbage there. The waste got dragged towards the coast but we will clean the contaminated areas” Cihan said.
Meanwhile, Arhavi Mayor Coşkun Hekimoğlu, also from the AKP, denied dumping waste and claimed to have warned others.
“We haven’t dumped garbage there during my time in office. I didn’t think it was appropriate to do so. In fact, I even warned others, saying, ‘The waste might get dragged to the coast in case of a flood.’ Unfortunately, I was right,” he stated.
The disaster sparked a renewed debate on whether the flood was a natural disaster or the avoidable result of negligence.
While the Prime Ministry provided 10 million Turkish Liras to meet urgent needs, questions persist on whether the construction of controversial hydroelectric power plants is appropriate in an area with a fragile geology.