The people in more than half of Turkey’s 81 provinces — 56 percent — breathed polluted air last year, according to the Right to Clean Air Platform, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.
The province that had the worst air quality in 2018 was Kahramanmaraş, in Turkey’s Southeast, the report said, followed by the eastern province of Iğdır and the southern province of Mersin.
The report said the only province that had “clean air” as per World Health Organization standards last year was the northeastern province of Ardahan.
The report also said that 51,574 people died of air pollution-related illnesses in Turkey in 2017, seven times higher than the number of traffic fatalities in the same year. The provinces that had the highest number of such deaths were Istanbul, the western province of Bursa and the capital, Ankara.
If the level of air pollution had been reduced to the numbers recommended by the World Health Organization, 13 percent of the deaths caused by air pollution could have be prevented in 2017, the report said.