Category Archives: Istanbul

How to Keep the Bosphorus Clean

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Yes, this year, I can see the difference.  I have not seen any floating garbage in many of the places we ate right on the Bosphorus in Istanbul.  I have been curious about how the municipality keeps it clean.  

Nice looking sea-sweepers cleaning the Bosphorus, istanbul

Nice looking sea-sweepers cleaning the Bosphorus, istanbul

Yes, this year, I can see the difference.  I have not seen any floating garbage in many of the places we ate right on the Bosphorus in Istanbul.  I have been curious about how the municipality keeps it clean. 

On a nice spring day, my sister and I are having lunch at  Bebek Café right on the  Bosphorus.  The cafe has a lunch special:  everything with artichokes.  Yummy!

Bebek Cafe on the Bosphorus, Istanbul

Bebek Cafe on the Bosphorus, Istanbul

A nice view from the Bebek Cafe, Istanbul

A nice view from the Bebek Cafe, Istanbul

And I see this blue boat approaching to the shore.  It is a sweeper.  This is the first time I am seeing a sweeper cleaning the water surface. 

Sea Sweeper Boat on the Bosphorus, Istanbul

Sea Sweeper Boat on the Bosphorus, Istanbul

In 2012, after receiving numerous complaints about the cleanliness of the Bosphorus, Istanbul municipality decided to purchase “sea-sweeper boats” to clean the surface of the Bosphorus.  .  The divers were also hired to clean the bottom.   You can watch the video of the sea-sweeper on youtube

Also, a BBC report shows a custom-made sea-vacuum-cleaner that sucks garbage off the Bosphorus.

The municipality issued a statement in 2014 that the amount of solid waste collected in Bosphorus is about 4,357 m3.  

Later, I find out more organizations involved in cleaning the Bosphorus.  The Turkish Marine Research Foundation has an operation called Sea Surface Marine Litter Cleaning Operation.   This operation is part of the MARLISCO (MARine LItter in European Seas: Social AwarenesS and CO-Responsibility) project.  MARLISCO’s goal is to “raise public awareness, facilitate dialogue and promote co-responsibility among the different actors towards a joint vision for the sustainable management of marine litter across all European seas. MARLISCO activities take place in the four European Regional Seas: North-East Atlantic, Baltic, Mediterranean and Black Sea, by a consortium with members located in 15 coastal countries.”

Another effort, small but worth mentioning, is a special project “Clean Marine Broom“.  Funded by the Agaoglu Group, this project collected 2950 kilograms of solid waste in eight days, from May 22 to May 29, 2015.  The Ağaoğlu Group assumed the sponsorship of the Turkish Marine Environment Protection Association (TÜRMEPA) for two years, which contributed significantly to the actualization of “Clean Marine Broom” project.  So, they have their own boats going about cleaning the Bosphorus.

Long before the surface sweepers, a 2010 article in Hurriyet Daily News titled “Bosphorus akin to a trash can, says Turkish NGO”  states that there were 250  divings between 2005 and 2010 by the divers of the  Underwater Cleaning Movement, or STH, showing how filthy was the underwater of the Bosphorus.

The task of cleaning the Bosphorus and keeping it clean is not just monumental, it is actually impossible.  Just think about cleaning the Hudson River inside out!    But, what is important is the task of bringing awareness to people’s minds. 

Hope that people will stop throwing their shoes, underwear, tires, kitchen sinks, car batteries, water bottles, soiled diapers, newspapers, and beer cans into the water.  Anything we throw into the water is not going anywhere, it stays there forever until it is picked up by a caring citizen or hard working cleaners on the Bosphorus.

Now, I eat my lunch and enjoy the view and my artichoke soup, as my first course.

View from Bebek Cafe, Bosphorus, Istanbul

View from Bebek Cafe, Bosphorus, Istanbul

 

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