Towards Osaka Blue Ocean Vision - G20 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastic Litter

Republic of Turkey

Actions and Progress on Marine Plastic Litter
Last Update : 2021/02/01

Policy framework

National Action Plan

  • In accordance with Zero Waste Project initiated in 2017, Law No. 7153 Amending the Environment Law, which was published in Official Gazette No. 30621 of 10 December 2018 and articles regarding the implementation of recovery contribution share, compulsory deposit-refund system and charging of plastic bags have been added into the Environment Law No. 2872. In Annex Article 11, which is added to the Environment Law, Recovery Contribution Share is defined in compliance with EPR principle. The products within the scope of the recovery contribution share and the fees to be applied per unit are set with the list no (1) attached to the same Law. Accordingly, various products such as plastic bags, packaging, tires, batteries, oil, medicine and electronic goods are included in the scope of recovery contribution share.
  • The deposit-refund system will come into force and various beverage packages will be collected by this method as of January 1, 2021 in Turkey. With the effective implementation of this system, it is aimed to collect packaging waste more efficiently and increase waste recycling rates. In this way, a positive impact on the economy will be achieved, quality raw materials for the industry will be offered. Currently several researches are being conducted how to implement and which method to be used for the mechanism.
  • Zero Waste Project has been adopted as state policy and placed as an action in 11th Development Plan (2019-2023). In line with the Zero Waste principle, which is based on resource efficiency and proper waste management in our country, it is aimed to increase the domestic waste recovery rate to the level of 35% from 13% by 2023.
  • National Waste Management and Action Plan (NWMAP) (2016 – 2023) is the major policy document of Turkey on waste management. The purpose of the plan is to ensure the creation of a healthy and livable environment for the present and future generations by protecting and developing our natural resources and ecosystems; within the framework of sustainability principle, taking into consideration international norms and national priorities, developing strategies and legislation, minimizing waste at source, classifying, collecting, transporting, temporary storage, recovery, disposal, reuse, purification, transformation into energy and final storage. National Waste Management and Action Plan covering the period of 2016-2023 and it contains, the current situation of Turkey, the issues that need to be improved or improved in the management system, population and waste projections, contribution of the stakeholders involved in waste management, periodic waste management activities planned to be completed until 2023, investments in waste management and financing needs.
  • Studies have been initiated revising NWMAP for the years 2023-2035 in order to harmonize the existing management plans with the zero waste management system plan, to increase and to disseminate separate collection efficiency at the source, to determine the recovery and disposal methods.
  • Zero-waste project to minimize waste and improve separate collection in municipalities, schools, and commercial buildings was launched by MoEU in 2017. During the first quarter of 2020, 11 guidelines have been prepared by MoEU in order to lead the target groups for adoption of zero waste systems, including waste prevention precautions and separate collection. Guidelines have been prepared for municipalities, industrial facilities, airports, train and bus stations, shopping malls, business centre, commercials, educational institutions and dormitories, healthcare organizations, tourism facilities (hotels, restaurants, cafeterias), rural areas, residences and sites, public institutions and zero waste blue (coastal facilities, ports, marinas, beaches). On the other hand, preparation of a National Waste Prevention Plan has been initiated.

Legal framework

  • Environmental Law
  • Municipal Law
  • The Procedures And Principles Regarding The Charging of Plastic Bags (December,2018)
  • Packaging Waste Control Regulation
  • Zero Waste Regulation (July,2019)
  • Regulation on Reception of Ship-Sourced Wastes (December, 2004)
  • By-law on Recovery Contribution Share for packaging and certain products (2020)
  • The General Communique on Recovery Contribution
  • Circular on Marine Litter Provincial Action Plans’ Preparation and Implementation (June 10th 2019)
  • Circular on App to Track Waste from Maritime Activities (July, 2020)
  • Turkish National Marine Monitoring Programme which is based on both national legislation and international conventions.


  • Recycling rate
  • Reduction of plastic bags and plastic waste
  • Number of people trained
  • Number of public buildings established zero waste system
  • Population benefit from municipal waste management facilities
  • Number of public awareness campaigns on marine litter and microplastics
  • Amount of marine litter collected during clean-up activities


Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Yes
Reduce single use plastic (shopping bag, strew etc.) by regulations or voluntary measures Yes
Restrict microbeads for cosmetics etc. No
Improve waste management recycling system Yes
Clean-up activity at rivers and coasts Yes
Actions on fishing gear Yes
Capturing trap/filter on drainage/river Yes
Promotion of innovative solutions Yes
Multi-stakeholder involvement and awareness raising Yes
Sharing scientific information and knowledge: R&D and Monitoring Yes
Participate in international cooperation through international organizations, multi-national groups, etc. Yes
Target region supported by your international cooperation initiatives/projects:
Southeast Asia
Target region supported by your international cooperation initiatives/projects:
Target region supported by your international cooperation initiatives/projects:
Latin America

Multi-stakeholder involvement and awareness raising

  • 5-year “Marine Litter Provincial Action Plans” are prepared for 28 coastal provinces are approved and conducted by involvement of the related stakeholders. The stakeholders are involved throughout the whole process of marine litter management. Awareness raising activities are planned and conducted under these action plans. In additional to these planned activities, voluntary activities are also done by NGO’s.
  • In accordance with the national law on Marine Litter Provincial Action Plans’ Preparation and Implementation; 5-year “Marine Litter Provincial Action Plans” are implemented under the responsibility of the Governors, in all 28 coastal provinces. Marine litter (including plastics) clean-up activities for are planned, conducted and reported annually under the plan. In additional to these planned activities, voluntary activities are conducted by NGO’s.
  • Within the scope of Zero Waste Project training seminars, workshops, competitions and conferences were organized across Turkey by our Ministry, provincial directorates and sector representatives, used social media for different segments of society in order to raise awareness on zero waste approach, prevention, reduction of waste generation, sorting at source, recycling and saving resources. Also two zero waste education projects for schools are executed:
    1. Zero Waste Education Project in Schools
      The Project was initiated by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, the Ministry of National Education and the TEMA Foundation. It is aimed to raise awareness among children on issues related to the protection of natural assets, environmentally friendly consumption habits and waste management, and reached 471 schools and 88.116 students.
    2. Zero Waste Awareness Project For Schools
      Within the scope of IPA-2 Environment and Climate Action Sector Operational Program. In cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, the Ministry of National Education and TRT, the project aims to raise awareness of zero waste management, recovery and recycling in 100 primary and secondary schools in Ankara.

Sharing scientific information and knowledge: R&D and Monitoring

  • Awareness of the marine litter pollution is the very first step of the measures. One way to obtain this is sharing information about the issue. The marine litter monitoring data and information that has been achieved and collected through the National Marine Monitoring Programme is shared in the reports and meetings relevant to the Conventions that Turkey is a party to (Barcelona and Bucharest Conventions). Data and information is also shared in national and international academical areas (conferences, workshops, seminars) with the permisson of the MoEU. Besides this, the MoEU arranges National Marine Monitoring Symposiums to reach various audiences to share information and to create awareness on both marine pollution and marine sources.

Promotion of international cooperation

  • Turkey is a peninsular having a broad coastline both on the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Being party to the Barcelona Convention and Bucharest Convention, Turkey is following and steering studies being done under both Conventions. Turkey is also sharing its experience with the countries in the region and Secretaries of both Conventions. In addition to these regional studies; Turkey is involved in the UN process and following up the global targets.


Prevention and reduction of plastic waste generation

  • As part of the Zero Waste project, the application started on 01.01.2019 with the aim of reducing the number of plastic usage per capita in our country from 440 to 90’s by the end of 2019, as of 01.01.2019, unnecessary plastic bag consumption has been significantly reduced thanks to the great favor of our citizens. According to the evaluations made on the application data of 2019, it is seen that the plastic bag usage / consumption rate has decreased by approximately 80%. The 80% decrease in the use of plastic bags in 2019 shows that, when considered only in terms of waste management, the amount of plastic waste, which was around 280,000 tons in 2018, was reduced to around 90,000 tons. Other contributions of this decrease in the amount of plastic waste to our country are; 8258 tons reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, 1.248.000 tons reduction in carbon footprint, 3.466.667MWh energy savings, 2.129.141 barrels of oil savings and 2.268.761 households of energy savings.
  • Within the scope of the practice launched in 2019, plastic bags are sold at 25 kurus, including taxes, regardless of their size and content, and this amount continues to be applied as 25 kurus in 2020 without any changes. With a reduction of approximately 78% achieved in 2019, 2020 practices continued. In the first 6 months of 2020, it was calculated with the data obtained from the representatives of the food retail sector that the reduction rate was 76%, and the reason for this decrease in the use of plastic bags (78% reduction to 76%); It is considered that the increase in the retail shopping rates of citizens after the COVID-19 epidemic that started all over the world and in our country.

Environmentally sound waste management and cleanup of marine plastic litter

  • As mentioned previously, 5-year “Marine Litter Provincial Action Plans” are prepared and being applied in accordance with the national law on Marine Litter Provincial Action Plans’ Preparation and Implementation. In 2019; 65,250 tonnes of marine litter is collected in Turkey marine and coastal areas. However in 2020; 7,517 tonnes of marine litter is reported to be collected. This decrease can be commented from different points of view. Especially the Covid-19 epidemic decreased the rate of clean-up activities as well as the touristic and recreational activities.

Multi-stakeholder involvement and awareness raising

  • In all 28 coastal provinces of Turkey, awareness raising activities are conducted in schools, public areas, etc. However, a quantitative value regarding how many people are reached could not be measured. Also, 8.7 million people were educated on zero waste management from June 2017 to August 2020.

Promotion of international cooperation

  • After the First Zero Waste Summit which was held on November 1, 2018 in the Presidencial Complex’s Congress and Culture Center the second one has been held in Istanbul in November 2019 at the international level.


  • Marine litter is outcome of technical, economic and social problems. The consuming behavior of the public is needed to be controlled and proper waste management has to be implemented, in order to avoid pollution at source. The fast actions to prevent littering that are taken in Turkey, hit the wall created by the Covid-19 epidemic. As a result of the increase in use of single use plastics and misbehavior of people like throwing used masks away, the waste management systems could not be enough to tackle with the pollution problem. To overcome this problem, new projects are proposed to develop capacity in this field.
  • In addition, that Turkey faces with its marine litter monitoring programme due to having very long coastlines which need large budgets and require many experts in the field. Therefore it is hard to implement a detailed monitoring programme for every coastline and marine regions with frequent sampling periods. However this challenge is partially overcomed by focusing on the coastlines under pressure. Other challenges include sampling, analyzing and evaluation methodology, but the expertise in this area is increasing and this challenge will be overcome in the next few years.

Best practices

National level

Zero waste project that is aimed to become widespread all over the country till 2023 and charging of plastic bags are the best practices in reduction of plastic waste in Turkey.


  • The implementation of charging plastic bags and the results reached by the “Zero Waste Project” (that aims collecting wastes separately at source and efficiently managing them); contributes greatly to the prevention of marine litter.
  • The Zero Waste – Blue opening event was held in Istanbul on June 10, 2019 under the auspices of the esteemed wife of the President of the Republic of Turkey Mrs. Emine ERDOĞAN. This event aims to carry out systematic practices for the reduction of marine litter, to raise awareness and to raise environmental consciousness in the society.
  • The Zero Waste – blue opening event, initiated a campaign during the tourism season all over the Turkey, to protect the marine environment and support cleaning activities. All citizens, non-governmental organizations, relevant institutions and media are invited to be sensitive about the protection of the marine environment and to support awareness raising activities.

New legislation called “Circular on the Preparation and Implementation of Marine Litter Provincial Action Plans” was issued by our Ministry on 10th June, 2019. According to the Environmental Law measures were already taken to prevent littering from all land and sea based activities. With this new legislation, the following actions are taken (in coordination with relevant institutions / organizations at regional and national level), in order to tackle marine litter effectively:

  • Preventing formation of marine litter, by taking special and locally taken precautions at the source,
  • Integrated and planned works for the disposal of existing marine litter,
  • Dissemination of training and awareness raising activities at national level.

Contact details

Ahmet VARIR (Mr.) – Head of Marine and Coastal Management Department

Kerem NOYAN (Mr.) – Head of Section

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