Public Perception of Coastal Zone Environmental Problems in the Samsun Province, Turkey
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During the past few decades, the Samsun coast has been subjected to various human impacts that have led to changes in the coastal zone of this the area. This paper is an attempt to understand and define how residents and beach users perceive coastal zone problems in Samsun province based on their perceptions. For this purpose, a questionnaire survey was conducted during the months of June and July in 2005 and 2006 on 500 residents and beach users at eight beaches along the 121-kilometer Samsun shoreline on the north side of Turkey. The questionnaire data was collected through a direct interview. Analysis of interview data reveals that the respondents perceive coastal seawater pollution (89%), beach pollution, the loss of beach plain (67%), and changes in land use (91%) as the main problems of the coastal zone. The main factors blamed for coastal seawater pollution are sewage (98%), industrial waste (74%), and waste oils discharged by ships (38%). It is clear from the results of the survey that residents and beach users are not sufficiently aware of the coastal zone problems. The most important recommendation for solving these problems is increasing environmental awareness. To this end, environmental education activities are necessary for the conservation of coastal zone ecosystems.