The Blue Panda in the city of legends to Stop Plastic Pollution | WWF

The Blue Panda in the city of legends to Stop Plastic Pollution

Posted on
12 September 2019

The words of Turkey’s famous writer, Orhan Pamuk, best define the fascinating cultural and natural diversity of Istanbul. The Blue Panda will be here from 13 to 28 September, to engage with citizens, businesses and local authorities to stop plastic pollution in Turkey, one of the top contributors to plastic leakage Mediterranean.

We are in Istanbul, the ancient capital of many empires from Rome to the Ottoman era, the city of legends that connects Asia and Europe. The rich biodiversity of this region is partly due to its unique location at the crossroads of two continental landmasses and two large water bodies, the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea. It is an important migration route for many species such as protected marine mammals and fish like swordfish, mackerel, bluefish and anchovies, and also a key land bridge for migratory soaring birds such as raptors and storks, that can travel between Europe and Africa without having to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

Unfortunately, the heavy industrialization and urbanization of this region that hosts 26% of Turkey’s population, has impacted nature. Due to pollution from industrial facilities fish species have declined from over 100 species in the 1960s to tens of species today. The Bosphorus Strait is also the seventh biggest choke point of oil in the world, with a high risk of major oil spills. Industrial centres like Istanbul has caused a significant reduction of the biodiversity in the Marmara Sea due to eutrophication and pollution.

From 13 to 28 September, everyone will be invited to come on board the Blue Panda and engage in a series of activities about the impact of plastic pollution. WWF-Turkey will also engage with local authorities and businesses to ensure their commitment to ban and reduce single-use plastic and improve waste management.

If you happen to be in Istanbul, join us onboard or follow us via social media @WWF_Med, #BluePanda #StopPlasticPollution and sign our petition.


Turkey is the 4th stop of the Blue Panda’s six-month journey across the Mediterranean, mobilising people along the coasts of Italy, Greece, France, Turkey, Tunisia and Morocco to #StopPlasticPollution and for #OilFreeGreece! After Izmir and Kaş-Kekova in Turkey, the Blue Panda will move to Tunisia in October.