More clean-ups could be arranged this summer after both visitors and locals took part in a litter-pick last weekend organised by Kayaköy muhktar, Metin Ekiz.

Around 15 people joined in on Sunday despite the early morning start, spending approximately five hours collecting rubbish, starting from the centre of the village and following a route towards Gemiler Bay and the Darboğaz peninsula.

But, not only did they clear away sack loads of plastic water bottles, wet wipes, food wrappers and containers, they hung handmade signs in the area urging visitors to consider nature and to help preserve it by not leaving litter behind in future.

Kayaköy muhktar, Metin Ekiz who organised the weekend clear-up

Signs of the times

The paths from Kayaköy to Gemiler and the old monastery at Af Kule are popular with both day-trippers and campers while the stony beaches at Darboğaz also attract day-trip boats sailing from Ölüdeniz in the summer months.

Despite end-of-season clean-ups by the council in the past, litter accumulates from the spring onwards and, recently, more regular sweeps have become necessary.

The litter problem summed up in a picture…

However, one of the weekend team members, Berivan Yaman, said it’s hoped the signs left behind at the weekend will help visitors understand the impact litter has on the environment and encourage people to think of legacy they can leave for their children.

“We cannot just do nothing anymore,” she said. “It is a problem which is getting worse.

“We hope the signs we have made will help people understand, if they leave rubbish, it does not just disappear. It can damage nature and ruin the environment.”

“Don’t leave rubbish! Let nature remain for our children.” Berivan ties one of the signs over a tree branch en route to Darboğaz.

The bigger picture

The Kayaköy initiative follows the introduction of Hungry Henry on the beach at Çalış which hopes to encourage more people to dispose of plastic waste responsibly.

Regular Fethiye visitor Mick Scarsbrook was also invited to the Istanbul International Environment Summit at the end of last year to address an influential audience on his own video-led drive to encourage more people in Turkey to dispose of their waste properly.

Turkeys’ first lady Ermine Erdoğan is also spearheading a Zero Waste drive, which aims to energise a national drive for recycling and better use of waste products in areas such as agriculture.