Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Refuse collection

Oh what an interesting topic I can hear you say!

It's not something I thought about much, before I came to live in this village.

In every other area we've lived in Turkey, I've always been pretty impressed by the service provided by the Belediye.  There were no individual bins provided to households..but sufficient large metal bins with heavy lids placed along roads, so you never had to walk too far to dispose of your rubbish.

None of this recycling nonsense that goes on in the UK....where sorting your rubbish into various containers has almost become a full-time job.  Of course I'm not against recycling...quite the opposite.  I'm pretty certain the Turks invented recycling.  They find uses for everything so there's very little that ends up in the bins.  And we also have men with little home-made handcarts who rummage in the bins early in the morning or late at night, and remove large plastic containers, and other things that can be sold on.  If anyone has anything of use to others, ie old household items or clothes, they are generally placed in plastic bags next to the bins for the rummagers to take.   Any waste food is often placed next to the bin for stray cats and doesn't present a hygiene problem because it's not there for more than a few minutes.  There are always cats lurking, watching the bins, ready to pounce.

And the bins are emptied EVERY day.  The binmen I've seen also sweep up any rubbish that happens to have missed the bin..unlike some binmen I've seen in England, who just seem to ignore it.

However...this wonderful system doesn't appear to work in villages...well not in this one anyway.

When we moved here in May, the first thing I looked for was a rubbish bin.  There wasn't one. I asked Mr Ayak what people did with their rubbish.  He wasn't sure but guessed they probably burnt it.  Although to be honest I haven't seen that many bonfires so I really hadn't a clue what they were doing with it.  Maybe they just recycled absolutely everything?

There isn't a Belediye (local council) in this village. The Muhtar (village chief) is responsible for the water supply and rubbish collection.  So I asked Mr Ayak to discuss it with him.  Well he's had many discussions with him since May, and until recently there were only two bins in the centre of the outside the school and one outside the teahouse and shop.  None at all for all the houses on the hillside.  So I have had to make do with carrying my rubbish down to the village and placing in one of the two bins.

Then a couple of months ago, bins started to appear on the lanes towards the bottom of the hill.  Large empty oil drums, painted bright blue, with "Muhtar" painted on them in white.   Progress at last!  Mr Ayak asked the Muhtar several times if we were likely to have bins up as far as our house, and he said we time.
Just before Kurban Bayram, we were told that we would get a bin within a week.  Kurban Bayram was two months ago.

My two friends L & A from Antalya who stayed with me over the Christmas period, one day walked into the village to get bread.  The Muhtar introduced himself and invited them to take tea with them. He asked them how I was settling in etc.  They said I was very happy here, it's a lovely village, but that they thought that it was a pity that I had to walk down the hill to dispose of my rubbish.  L & A left on 31st December at around 9.00am.   At 10.00am a bright blue rubbish bin arrived, and I was asked where I would like it placed!  It will be emptied once a week and there will be a small charge added to my two-monthly water problem.

The reaction from my immediate neighbours is rather amusing.  They have come out, in turn, to stand and stare at the bin, and have a bit of a discussion about it....but they haven't used it.  One neighbour asked me if I had to pay for it.  I replied that 3 lira would be added to the water bill every two months. And I explained very carefully that the Muhtar will charge ALL villagers the same amount.  But I think they believe that if they don't use the bin they won't be charged....we'll see.

In the meantime, on the one occasion that I took all 4 dogs out of the garden and up the hill behind the house, I discovered on the far side of the hill that rubbish had been dumped.  I have never seen anyone going up there with rubbish so I guess they must do it after dark.  With the gale force winds we have recently experienced, some of this rubbish has been blown down the hill and into my garden.  Mr Ayak has spoken to the Muhtar about it who promised to make an announcement to the effect that anyone caught dumping rubbish will be fined.  Whether it will make a difference remains to be seen.

I do believe it's more than a coincidence that my friends comments to the Muhtar resulted in the prompt delivery of the rubbish bin.  They also mentioned that the road surfaces in the lanes leading up the hill are pretty dangerous, to which the Muhtar replied that he is planning to get them resurfaced...I live in hope!

They also let it slip that they will be returning within a couple of months and may consider buying a property here.  I also happen to know that the Muhtar has several old properties up for sale!


  1. Wow! Interesting topic indeed! I don't see bins out here to be honest with you,(I don't want to say where) The rubbish is just dumped somewhere... The workers come and burn a huuggeeee mountain of it every so often, though I haven't seen it happen, I heard of it...

    Mr. Ayak did a great job by asking the village chief to do something about it.

    Good post Ayak, keep it up!

  2. Hooray! The luxury of it all...

    When I lived in Turkey the one thing I remember most that I really didn't like was the smell of burning garbage.

    It was almost impossible to avoid as practically everyone who lived on the outskirts of a village would burn their trash, and the stench (plastics and rubber) sometimes was awful.

    We only lived in two different villages, but I visited friends in several others and they had the same problems.

    Still that was almost 20 years ago and things have changed a lot. (well except for the part about dumping garbage in wild unspoiled places. They do that here on Corfu too, and the same thing happens when we get the big winds.)

  3. When I first moved to France, rubbish collection out in the sticks was pretty new. Every house I moved to proved to have somewhere where the previous occupants had buried glass, old tins, boots, etc...
    Still, the first dustmen were super guys...take anything, anytime. Now we have controlled dumps, in the interests of recycling, but the gyppos take anything of any value so there is no return to the council and the new dumpmeister is so obnoxious that there is a recrudescence of the fly tipping that has always been such a bane.
    Asbestos removal is one really sore point. Youhave to have a special firm to undertake the work which costs a fortune, so, of course, the whole lot is just dumped in the countryside under cover of night.
    Someone needs to rethink all this.

  4. Hurray! You finally got the bin! Now I just hope rest of your neighbours start using it too! Next time you have a problem maybe you can ask your friends to come over and drop broad hints to you-know-who! wink

  5. Jessica: The dumping of rubbish really annoys still happens in Turkey...although it's not so bad as it was when I first came here.

    Fly: Oh the burying of rubbish! I'm afraid my dogs managed to dig up a fair bit of disgusting rubbish in the garden..which I had to dispose of.

    Chaitra: I doubt the neighbours will use the least not until they accept that they will be charged for it. Yes I will certainly ask my friends to drop a few more hints when they're next here.

  6. You really make a person think about things that we (me) take for granted as it is so very different where you live. I think it would be quite terrible to smell burning garbage all the time and am glad that your collection devices seem to be getting closer to your home.

  7. Well I!m trying to be optimistic about the collection system Mr H but there has been no collection yet since the bin arrived last Wednesday. I'm not too concerned at the moment because I always wrap my rubbish well, whereas the Turks don't...but fortunately none of the neighbours are using the it's not smelly at the moment. Good job it's not the height of summer!


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