This is a generally light-hearted look at what is essentially a big social and environmental issue. The subject of rubbish strewn across the landscape and dumped in huge landfill sites is a constant topic of conversation among visitors to North Cyprus. It is not as yet an issue that the Government is prepared to tackle and will remain an unsightly blot upon the countryside until such time as recycling depots for glass, plastic, cans etc. are constructed. However there is a form of recycling that does benefit the country and the community, this is the recycling that takes place among friends and the villagers.
So many residents of this country now come from a relatively affluent western world. A world that has seen continued prosperity over the last forty years, and a world in which we have been encouraged by manufacturers of domestic goods to expect frequent change. Thus everything is built with an expiry date and nothing is made to last. We change televisions, microwaves, freezers, washing machines, three piece suites etc. on a whim, and in most parts of Europe those goods which we no longer need can be taken away and recycled by a local authority. Here in North Cyprus we recycle such goods and distribute them where they can be of use to others.
My first example of how this system works occurred just after we had moved house thirteen years ago and found a few unwanted items left by the previous incumbent. Among these was an old bottled- gas fire. It was rusty and certainly looked as if it had seen much better days. Not sure what we should do with it, we put it out by the dustbin and hoped it would be taken away. Later that night a car drove past, there was a screech of brakes, a rapid reversing to the fire, car boot was opened, the fire placed inside and away they went! A couple of months later we had to replace the cistern on the WC. We put the entire old one by the rubbish bin and that night it disappeared. The following night the parts that didn’t work or were not wanted were returned! Then we replaced the panels for the shower cubicle, they too were collected late at night and no doubt are still doing great service somewhere.
Since then we have moved house again but always ensure that anything that may be usable gets put out by the bin and thus anyone passing knows that they can help themselves. So far only a pair of old plimsolls has been treated with disdain! Recently we have changed our kitchen, an extravagance long overdue, and wanted the old units to go somewhere that they would be reused or remodelled. This was not an act of condescending charity but a desire to see good wood not wasted. I asked our gardener if he knew anyone who would like to take anything that we had stripped out, including the kitchen sink! He made a couple of phone calls and within minutes an ancient truck and an even more ancient car drew up outside and took the whole lot away. So our old kitchen will be recycled among members of a mainland Turkish family, who according to our gardener (ever a fount of local knowledge) have absolutely nothing, and they will distribute the various parts were they are most needed. Once we had emptied the drawers from the units, they came back and collected those as well.
This is Cyprus life, it is part of the country in which we live and we can give something in exchange for what we receive. Long may our community recycling continue!