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Sahika Ercumen– Free-diver collecting rubbish in Istanbul

35-year old Sahika is a 'Life Below Water' advocate for the UN, hoping to make a change

By Mehr Sohal

Image source: BBC News

Sahika Ercumen is a Turkish dietician and world record holder free-diver. While her accomplishments are many in number, nothing trumps the responsibility she has taken upon herself to be an advocate for 'Life Below Water' (one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals).

The Bosphorus is a strait that passes through Istanbul. While this water body looks fairly clean in the

below picture, it is one of the most active and polluted sea-traits in the world...looks can be deceiving, right? Garbage, in specific, is the key problem that contributes to the immense pollution; majority of this garbage being plastic waste. The strait is currently suffering from eutrophication, an increase in phytoplankton, and consequently less oxygen for the living organisms (Lehtinen, 2012).

Now back to Sahika. What does she have to do with the Bosphorus? Recently, this amazing woman and environmental activist has been using the skills she has honed by being a free-diver for the better: collecting garbage from this Turkish water body. In the wake of this pandemic, plastic waste has further increased with several gloves and face masks being found in the water.

Sahika Ercumen is an environmental hero; one that we should be grateful for. Her love for the environment sparks from the fact that she considers seas and oceans her natural habitat.


Nonetheless, the global situation of the environment is deteriorating. In the midst of this pandemic, it may be easy to forget about the several stress-inducing problems in this world; but we, unfortunately, can not afford to be ignorant. However, there is something YOU can do while sitting at home to ensure some environmental security.

In India, The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has recently put out a draft on what the new Environmental Impact Assessment will be (EIA). We can not, under any circumstance, let this draft be approved for it will profit insatiable and hungry corporates and companies; give discretionary powers to authorities, and weaken public consultation (we share this planet! Why should only authorities make decisions that affect us all); encourage industrial projects that are at the cost of the environment; and so much more.

Good news: The High Court has extended the public response deadline for this draft till AUGUST 11th. Till that date, there is a lot you can do. It is our fundamental right to know what is happening in the country, and to express our opinions to make a change.

Send an e-mail highlighting your concerns with the draft using this link:

Be vocal about your opinions; many people still don't know about this

View these sample letters: Try using this subject in your e-mails– Unequivocal Request to Withdraw Draft EIA 2020

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