The Mediterranean Tourism Foundation (MTF) expresses solidarity with the people of the Mediterranean countries which are being raged by wildfires including Turkey, Greece, Italy, Albania, Morocco, North Macedonia and Lebanon. Indeed, over the past weeks various cities across the Mediterranean region have become a wildfire hotspot, with Turkey hit by its most intense blazes on record and a heatwave producing a high risk of further fires and smoke pollution around the region.
MTF reports that thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes, some have lost their lives fighting the wildfires and the tourism sector in these areas have been further put on their knees as the COVID-19 pandemic left its toil on business over the past year.
MTF appeals to the relevant authorities to support the regions and their people facing such tragic disaster with concrete action and without bureaucratic delays. More significantly MTF appeals to the global community to embark on urgent action and address climate change matters and the protection of the environment as a top matter on the world agenda. MTF asserts that we need more action in the form of concrete solutions to be driven by both public and private entities. What is happening around us is a wake up call for all of us.
MTF quotes the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) reporting that plumes of smoke from fires in southern Turkey were clearly visible in satellite images of the region, and that the severe scale of the fires has caused high levels of particulate matter pollution over the Eastern Mediterranean area. Persistent exposure to particulate matter pollution is associated with cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer.
MTF therefore appeals to the decision makers of the global community to urgently promote sustainable tourism actions as a way to bring back stability in these countries and restore the environment. MTF asserts that a fire in the backyard of one’s neighbour will tomorrow definitely threaten one’s own existence. The environment is our joint responsibility wherever we are, whatever we do, and accordingly MTF appeals to all Mediterranean countries to embrace sustainable tourism initiatives as a real weapon for conservation and protection of our unique blue and green environment.