Over the coming year Fethiye Times will be introducing readers to Fethiye’s silent, unsung heroes; these are the people that keep Fethiye going but no one ever hears about.
Who are they and what do they do?
We are kicking off this series with a group of men without whom the town could not function – the waste operatives or ‘bin men’ as many call them.
You may hear them coming but the only signs you’ll see of them are the empty waste containers left on the roadsides – bin there done that!
What happens behind the scenes?
Fethiye municipality has an Environmental Health department that is responsible for collecting the town’s domestic waste.
The municipality employs a total of 220 men who are divided into teams that operate the 62 garbage trucks.
Incidentally, these teams are separate from the recycling teams who visit the same areas once a week to collect the recycled rubbish.
There is one man in charge of organising all these teams and his name is, Osman Ünsal; he invariably has a telephone to his ear.
The centre of operations is tucked away behind the local bus (dolmuş) station.
Adding up the numbers
Throughout the week they travel around Fethiye’s 41 districts visiting each of the 5,440 waste containers.
To give you an idea of how much is collected, last year (2015) the men collected 53,000 tons of domestic waste and nearly 16,000 tons of garden rubbish; all this totalled a pretty staggering 69,000 tons.
With high summer temperatures and too many lazy residents failing to bin their rubbish responsibly, the waste containers become what can only be described a smelly, but the same municipality department has a team who disinfect each container on a rota system; we spotted this happening last year.
The green Machine and the Garbage Man
There is another team of men who drive around in rather high-tech street cleaning vehicles and others with traditional dustpans and brushes, all of them endeavouring to keep the town litter-free.
It should be pointed out that beach cleaning is the responsibility of another department.
In addition to this there is also a truck that keeps the roads, gutters and storm drains clean.
We thought it was an honour to meet these hard-working men, who always seem to be happy and smiling despite the distinctly smelly nature of their work, and made a point of thanking them on behalf of Fethiye Times’ readers for the all work they do.
All they asked is that residents are reminded to make sure their rubbish is securely bagged-up before it’s thrown it in the bin (and not left by or vaguely in the right direction).
So let’s help them to make their job just a little easier. After all, it is these guys who do all the hard graft, often in unsavoury conditions, to keep Fethiye tidy.