World Cleanup Day 2019, which will take place on Sept. 21, is an annual international day devoted to combating the global solid waste problem through having a good time by clearing litter. Luckily, Istanbul has Tidy Turkey, a wonderful community of like-minded individuals who gather to clean natural and historical areas throughout Istanbul, while also mingling, walking, swimming, dining and having a grand old time. Founded by Australian expat Lucy Tooze, who also blogs about the events and encourages others to create their own "cleanup events," Tidy Turkey will be hosting three separate cleanup activities on Saturday, Sept. 21 in various areas of Istanbul.
Authentic Üsküdar World Cleanup Day Event
Tidy Turkey will be tackling the trash in Üsküdar for their first event held in this historical region situated along the Bosporus on the Asian side of the city. Participants will be meeting up at noon next to the traffic lights at the seaside entrance of the Marmaray Metro Station. Together, they will pick up trash by first walking in the direction of the Kız Kulesi tower (the Maiden Tower) and then by heading to Kuzguncuk, a beautiful traditional Istanbul neighborhood known for its historical buildings and natural environment. After clearing litter from noon to 3 p.m., the event will conclude with enjoying a coffee or tea together at the community garden at Kuzguncuk Bostan.
Cruisy Kınalıada World Cleanup Day Event
On Saturday, Sept. 21, Tidy Turkey will also be heading to the Princes' Islands' Kınalıada to enjoy a day of swimming and dining, while also clearing the surroundings of trash. Kınalıada, which is the closest of the Princes' Islands to Istanbul as well as one of the smallest, is just a stunning ferry ride away from the city proper. Ferries depart from multiple locations on both the Asian and European sides of the city and take less than an hour. Participants will be meeting at noon in front of the Kınalıada Şehir Hatları ferry station and will be picking up litter for a few hours after which they will head to the beach for a swim or enjoy lunch at Cunda's Pub and Restaurant.
Tidy Turkey is a community of like-minded individuals who gather to clean natural and historical areas throughout Istanbul.
Balsy Balat and Fener World Cleanup Day event
For this event, Tidy Turkey will be collaborating with the Yusra Community Center to cleanup litter in the beautiful neighborhoods of Balat and Fener. Participants will be meeting up at Aziz Cafe in Balat at noon on Saturday, Sept. 21. From there, they will be joined by volunteers and children from the Yusra Community Center to pick up litter. Started by Indian filmmaker and Istanbul expat Shahla Raza, the Yusra Community Center is a volunteer-run organization in Balat that provides assistance to the displaced and disadvantaged, with a focus on children in the neighborhood.
How to host your own cleanup event
Leading into World Cleanup Day, I had the opportunity to catch up with the lovely and very composed Lucy Tooze, who started Tidy Turkey, or Türkiye'yi Temizle in Turkish, two years ago on Sept. 21 World Cleanup Day, and which has since blossomed to become a thriving community of locals and expats inspired to combat the problem of waste. I asked Lucy what she advised people to bring when attending a cleanup event to which she said they should bring water in a reusable bottle, sunscreen, a hat and ideally reusable gloves; however, she said that at most events the latter are provided.
Lucy encourages others to organize their own "cleanup days" and says it is easy. To begin, her advice is to first select a conveniently accessible location near the bus, train or ferry. When scouting the area out, Lucy advises you to make sure you have determined where there is trash and how the trash collected will be removed from the site. When determining the location, Lucy also advises paying a visit to the local council to inform them of the event and to establish how the trash will be deposited.
"Once the time, place and rubbish removal practicalities have been finalized, it is time to get your advertisement sorted," said Lucy, adding, "Make up a flyer with all the basic details of the event and if you post your event on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you can reach out to a lot of people."
"On the day, be at the event site early so that you are present when participants arrive," Lucy continued, sharing that she then distributes bags and gloves, mainly using the thin surgical gloves you can buy in bulk, unless participants bring their own. "Creating a cleanup event is fulfilling in various ways," said Lucy explaining, "For one, you get to feel good for helping mother nature and secondly, it's a really fun day out. Thirdly, you get to make some like-minded friends," she adds, smiling.
To learn more about upcoming cleanup events and to check out the blog and reviews of events from the past, just visit https://turkiyeyitemizle.wordpress.com and the Facebook group for Tidy Turkey.