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Cancer-related deaths due to air pollution in Dilovasi Industrial Zone, Turkey


It is reported that about 300 large and small scale industries are located in Dilovasi Organized Industrial Zone among which 193 are active and that roughly 20,000 people are employed in these. The majority of these represent the metallurgy and chemical sectors. Altogether, these companies comprise 17% of Turkeys industry. The bowl shape topographic structure of Dilovasi and the presence of iron and steel smelting plants as well as paint and chemical facilities negatively influence the air quality of the region. Research studies based on death records have been conducted demonstrating that cancer-related cases range over the worlds and Turkeys averages. In regional measurements, the PM10 air pollution indicator was confirmed to be 3,5 times higher than the accepted limit value.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Cancer-related deaths due to air pollution in Dilovasi Industrial Zone, Turkey
State or province:Kocaeli
Location of conflict:Dilovasi
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Metal refineries
Chemical industries
Manufacturing activities
Other industries
Specific commodities:Crude oil

Manufactured Products
Recycled Metals
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

large and small scale industries are located in Dilovasi Organized Industrial Zone.

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Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:1970
Company names or state enterprises:DILER Iron and Steel Industry and Trade from Turkey
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Security
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Turkish Union of Medical Doctors
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local scientists/professionals
Trade Chambers
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution
Potential: Global warming, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Deaths
Potential: Accidents, Malnutrition, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents
Other Health impactsCancer
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Other socio-economic impactsdifficulties in access to water
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Violent targeting of activists
Denial policies
Development of alternatives:Rehabilitation of the business enterprises that are the source of the problem should be started immediately and other enterprises that are deemed necessary should be moved elsewhere or closed down. The regional air quality should be kept under control through regular measurements. The integration of treatment plants should be supported. The establishment of new businesses to the region should be prevented.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The complaints and conditions which are subject of the conflict remain unchanged and even intensify. New factories and plants are being established and the population continues to increase in the region.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Industrial Air Pollution Control Regulation (2006)

EU 96/62/EC Directive

Business and Operation License Regulation

Environment Law Numbered 2872

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

The causes of deaths in an industry-dense area: example of Dilovasi (Kocaeli), TUBITAK
[click to view]

Ecological Indicators journal
[click to view]

Turkeys Selikoff, Cem Terzi, Dokuz Eylul University
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Two cancer clusters identified in industrial areas near Istanbul, Hurriyet Daily News:
[click to view]

White material to be searched by officials, Hurriyet Daily News:
[click to view]

Natural News:
[click to view]

Turkish Scientist Could Be Jailed For Publishing Report on Poisonous Metals in Babies, Mothers Milk
[click to view]

Public campaign supporting Prof. Onur Hamzaoglu:
[click to view]

Turkish Officials File Complaint Against Scientist Over Health Report:
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Dilovasi like Tchernobyl (TV news):
[click to view]

Onurumuzu Savunuyoruz (in Turkish):
[click to view]

Other comments:All companies with an economic interest in the region and the Turkish State supports the industrial disposition of the region.
The conflict included the criminalization of Prof. Onur Hamzaoglus academic work as well, who underlined the inudstry-related health effects in Dilovasi.
Meta information
Contributor:Serkan Kaptan
Last update08/04/2014
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