Tuesday, 5 January 2010
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 dogs..it 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 village...one 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 would...in 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 bill....no 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!