We really don’t want to do this… But everyone who loves Fethiye will know that the region has more than its fair share of beautiful beaches. Yesterday we mentioned in our FT news roundup that Turkish Marine Environment Protection NGO, TURMEPA and the Tui Resort Team got together last Wednesday [8th July] for a grand cleanup of two of them: the normally pretty Buyuk Boncuklu and Kucuk Boncuklu Bays.

What a picture!

Trash bang wallop: Beach clean-up team didn't expect this!

Piles of rubbish for Fethiye clean up team

Then we were sent the photographic evidence of what they found on their arrival [see above]. Fethiye Times is always happy to share news about these community minded projects. We don’t like litter but we’re not naive and know a certain amount is inevitable. In fact, seeing the rubbish being dealt by teams of local people is one the good things that happens in Fethiye throughout the summer months. And we want to celebrate that. But this is shameful.

Perhaps you thought the beaches would be reasonably clean at this time, there has been a flurry of clean-ups going on this summer. Maybe you thought that local as well as regional and national concern about the drop in tourist numbers might have spurred the authorities into action. In fact, Fethiye Mayor, Behçet Saatçı was seen only a matter of weeks ago collecting trash.

The Mayor of Fethiye doing a spot of rubbish collection
The Mayor of Fethiye doing a spot of rubbish collection

But from these photographs of the local beaches you can see what is being left is a shameful reminder of how lazy, careless and thoughtless humans can be of their environment.

It’s no joke…

The volunteers travelled by boat from Fethiye harbour to each bay in turn.  Lunch and refreshments were generously provided by the owners of the privately run (and beautiful clean) Kuleli Bay.

Just from these two beaches, the hard-working teams collected almost 90 bags of rubbish, each weighing three kilos.  The litter was mostly food containers, plastic and glass bottles, plastic bags, dirty nappies, wet wipes, and newspapers. It had been planned for Fethiye Municipality to send a truck and helper to take away the rubbish.

It may seem unbelievable but Buyuk Boncuklu Bay, which was the focus of another beach clean up in May [and presumably some official ones since then?] had so much garbage strewn across it a bulldozer had to come onto the beach and scoop it up, there was too much for the team to handle.

What a shame

A couple of Turkish holiday makers having a picnic on the beach came over to help. They said:

What a shame. We are disgusted that people could have such disregard for a beautiful place and turn it into such a mess.

Piles of rubbish for Fethiye clean up team

It’s not just that these are eyesores on what should be our glorious sandy beaches, the waste can also seriously injure, maim and even kill sea turtles, dolphins and sea birds to name but a few.

We can only thank the people from TUI and TURMEPA for all their hard work cleaning these two beaches but perhaps the only solution is to organize more clean-ups and long term strategies until beach users learn to take their rubbish home with them. Come on people, any ideas?



  1. It appears to me that most of the rubbish is deposited on Sunday’s after the Turkish ‘day off’ particularly around the peninsula. It would be good to have the belediyesi and perhaps a police presence at these places handing out advice and leaflets informing people to take their litter to collection points at each area or home with them.

    • There’s no blame for foreigners or Turks in this article. This is a problem for the whole community to tackle and for people to take responsibility regardless of where they come from.

  2. WHY do people have to be so absolutely LAZY, show no regard for anyone/anything and purposely ruin nature? Is it becoming necessary to start assigning police to “trash duty” and start handing out big fines to slobs who leave their garbage everywhere?

  3. It is so very distressing to see the damage which is done by thoughtless, selfish people. You can’t only blame foreign tourists as the Turkish people are as much at fault. One wonders what peoples’ homes are like if they scatter rubbish with such abandon on the beaches.

  4. The answer is money spent on education, what happens to your discarded rubbish and the environmental impact it has. Responsible attitudes by food retailers regarding biodegradable containers and here I may be controversial. ….. more bins located next to the beach that have to be walked passed to get to cars etc. I also think that a season of litter patrol and heavy heavy fines may also help. At evening times when people are packing up to go home etc. And don’t forget it’s not just a problem in the beaches.. anyone had a picnic in the forest lately??? Go me on Fethiye BElediye it’s time you upped your game!There are plenty of people willing to help tackle this problem, You and I/we CAN make a difference!

  5. I stay in Fethiye for around four months each year I swim with friends at on of the bay’s on the peninsular, once in the water it is crystal clear, the beach however is strewn with litter as above shows. There are no places to deposit litter at all. I am sure that a large bin or two would help discourage the litter louts

  6. We have recently returned from our holiday with 3 of our friends and stayed in our apartment in Koça çalış. We all had a wonderful time and our friends thought the area was beutiful. The one thing they commented on and found very puzzling was why the area was blighted with copious amounts of litter strewn around every beach, bin, ditch etc etc. it was their first visit to Turkey and it was a shame this was the one thing they commented on 🙁 With tourism struggling this year in Turkey, everyone should be making a special effort to clean up the area, well done to all concerned, keep up the good work !


  7. Turkey is such a beautiful country it is sad to see while out & about on our bikes the state people leave various area’s with rubbish.Please it’s not rocket science please please just take your crap home.We have chosen to live here in Turkey because of it’s beauty & the wonderful people.please can we keep it beautiful