Garbage Collector a Rare Bird in Turkey

dumped garbage in istanbul photo

When I first moved to Istanbul, I asked the friend I was staying with where I could take out the trash. "Just leave it in that pile on the curb," she said. "Someone will come pick it up." Someone did, and although my current street has a dumpster on it, every neighborhood seems to have its own unofficially designated trash heaps. I've seen people tote their garbage bags a couple of blocks just to deposit them on a specific corner, and eventually, whether by city sanitation workers or scavengers, the trash generally gets carried away. (Although usually not before the stray dogs and cats have had a go at it.) So although this system of sorts seems to work, it was no real surprise to read in the local paper that the majority of Turkey's solid waste is disposed of improperly.According to the English-language newspaper Today's Zaman, only 39 percent of the 65,000 tons of solid waste generated in the country each day is disposed of properly by local municipalities. That leaves a lot of trash sitting in heaps on the sidewalk and in empty lots—and running down the street when it rains. "Disposal of waste through unsanitary means pollutes both underground and surface water," said Mustafa Öztürk, a deputy with the ruling party who heads the parliamentary Commission on Global Warming and Water Resources Research. He added that only a scant 18 municipalities out of 3,000 regularly collect solid waste.

Recycling is mostly done by scavengers who still haul heavy, hand-pulled carts full of paper, glass, or cans through the streets, although dedicated bins are slowly appearing in Istanbul, where the municipality hopes to send more trash to factories where it can be turned into fuel, processed into fertilizer for farming, or, in the case of plastic, recycled into road surfaces, trash bags, and the like. Until then, I'll keep putting my recyclables in a separate bag and leaving it beside the dumpster, so the scavengers don't have to dig through the rest of the garbage to get it. Via: Over 60 Percent of Solid Waste Improperly Disposed in Turkey, Today’s Zaman
More on trash and recycling:
One Man’s Mission: Not Throwing Any Trash ‘Away’ For 365 Days
EU Tells Italy To Take Out The Trash, Already
How to Green Your Recycling

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