Emine Erdogan received the Global Goals Action Award from the UN Development Programme for the country's zero waste project that she has led since 2017.

Turkish first lady Emine Erdogan speaks during UNDP's award ceremony in Ankara, Turkey on March 25, 2021.
Turkish first lady Emine Erdogan speaks during UNDP's award ceremony in Ankara, Turkey on March 25, 2021. (AA)

Turkey's first lady has thanked the UN Development Programme's (UNDP) Turkey team for their contribution to the Zero Waste project, which won the Global Goals Action Award, and other environmental studies carried out by them. 

"The Zero Waste project, which we launched in 2017, was awarded the 'Global Goals Action Award' by UNDP Turkey for its significant contribution to the UN's 'Responsible Production and Consumption' goal. I would like to thank the UNDP Turkey team for their interest in our projects," said Emine Erdogan on Twitter on Friday.

"The relationship established with nature in our civilisation is so deep that many foundations have been established in our history to protect the environment. Today, we also need to close the distance between us and nature … to regain the friendship of nature."

"I would like to thank all our citizens, public institutions, non-governmental organisations and members of the media who support Zero Waste, who have made recycling a way of life in all aspects of life," she said in another tweet, with the hashtag #WorldOurHome.

Zero waste project

Initiated in 2017, the Zero Waste project aims for a recovery rate of 35 percent in 2023, up from the current 19 percent.

From 2017 to 2020, 315 million kilowatt-hours of energy, 345 million cubic metres of water, 50 million barrels of oil, 397 million tons of raw materials and 209 million trees were saved.

The project has also prevented 2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions and saved 209 million trees.

In 2025, total global waste is expected to reach 2.2 billion tons from the current 1.3 billion tons, according to the World Bank.

Also, the project brought $3 billion to the Turkish economy from June 2017 to the end of 2020. The average USD/TRY exchange rate was 5.55 during the period.

The project also aims to employ 100,000 people directly and generate savings of $2.7 billion by 2023.

While 76,000 buildings currently have zero waste management systems, this figure is expected to reach 400,000 in 2023.

Also, 100,000 litres of oil is saved per ton of recycled glass and 17 trees per ton of recycled paper.

Climate crisis warning

On Thursday, at a ceremony in the capital Ankara, Claudio Tomasi, of UNDP Turkey, presented the award to the Turkish first lady. 

"Economic sustainability cannot be achieved without true environmental sustainability," Tomasi said

In her speech, Erdogan thanked the UNDP and warned that scientific research signalled that a dark future could be in store, noting particularly the climate crisis.

Erdogan said the Zero Waste project is a small step in the responsibility of leaving a livable world to future generations, adding, "We hope to make this effort more efficient with the cooperation of our public and non-governmental organisations."

Source: AA