A Toxic Public Waterway in Istanbul

There is a park right before the Fenerbahce stadium, and a bridge (Recep Peker Caddessi) that overlooks a small creek (Kurbagalidere) leading to the Marmara sea. As I was walking from downtown Kadikoy I was overcome by the overwhelming stench and sight of a massive amount of raw sewage: toilet paper, tampons, pads, and other trash floating on the surface. A long cylindrical flotation device had been placed across the waterway, keeping the unsightly garbage from flowing to the sea, but not the fetid water. It is almost 2015. Raw sewage should only be flowing into water treatment facilities. A country that considers itself an example to other Middle Eastern countries should not stand for such appalling conditions.
After my observation and subsequent outrage, a thought occurred to me. In this country, as you make more money, your circle of influence grows; consequently, more time is spent insulated from realities such as Turkey’s crumbling infrastructure despite very high taxes, and how this directly affects life on the ground for a large percentage of Turkish people. Those with money and influence typically live in gated communities; shuttled by private car to work, to meetings, to events, and to friends homes who also live in sheltered domains. Taxis or private vehicles are taken to elaborately outfitted shopping malls where everyone is in a perpetual state of artificial well being. The real people of Istanbul are viewed from behind glass windows and partitions, and their problems subsequently dismissed, because they aren’t being experienced by those in isolation. It is good to leave the bubble. It is good to walk around, witnessing actual reality, and not just your own version of it. In short, Turkish citizens might want to care more about the plight of the people in their own country, as the state of degeneration will eventually taint everything.
As a side note, according to Sabah newspaper, the local government received a grant from the world bank in 2010 to fix the seasonal flooding caused by Kurbagalidere creek. I don’t know if the sewage draining into the creek is directly related, but it seems as if this would be something worth investigating, and fixing for good. The department which should be aware of this is Forestry and Water Affairs.

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Megan

Coffee. Beer. Climbing Tall Things.

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