Communities Field Note: Education about the Environment

What community need did I learn about? Why does the community have this need?

One of the troubles I faced when asking young people here about the state of the environment is a lack of education. In the U.S., kids are educated on waste, recycling and the environment. It is a pressing issue. It seems like everyone recycles in the U.S. The same does not apply for Istanbul. The environment is not a pressing issue for young people. Even students in college are not concerned about the issue. One Turk answered, “Recycling? Do you see a recycling bin? I see a trash can, so I am going to throw this water bottle in the trash can.” The problem with recycling in Istanbul is that it is not easily accessible.

Since I have lived in Istanbul, I have never seen a recycling bin beside the trash can. On our road, there are only two trash cans. One is really close to our home. The other one is farther down the street. The recycling bin is not next to the trash can which leads to a lot of recycle materials (water bottle, paper, cardboard) going into the trash can. Sometimes trash is put on the street right outside the houses, not in trash bins. It is odd to see the trash not in trash bins.

Is this need being met? How?

Istanbul is pushing for more eco-friendly ways to dispose of waste. The hardest but most important part is getting the locals to support recycling. Some people still will not recycle because it is hard to find a recycling bin. Some people still put their trash outside their homes on the street instead of in trash bins. Restaurant workers throw out drinks in the street instead of down the sink. Education is the most important step in fixing these problems.

It seems to me that there is not enough education here about waste management, and there is also not enough government resources to provide facilities, like recycling bins.  As I stated before, the most important change would be public support and education on recycling and the environment. A lot of the Turks are stuck in their old ways especially about setting the trash outside of their house and not into the local trash bin. One Turk informed me, “Why do I have to recycle when I can just set my trash outside my door?” After that statement I realized the need for education. I say, do not be like the Turks stuck in their ways! You can do something about it in your community!


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