Pollution destroying Turkey's Lake Çubuk
WILCO VAN HERPEN
Çubuk is a small, cute lake with a little neighborhood and an old house where you can eat during the right season.There is something I do not understand in Turkey. From the first moment I visited the country, whenever I went to someone’s house, I always had to take off my shoes and leave them outside at the entrance.
It sometimes creates a funny picture, especially when there are a lot of visitors in a house at the same moment. Tens of pairs of shoes covering several steps on the stairways or, if it is an apartment, blocking the passage to the other floors…
Turks are quite clean people; especially when it concerns their own house. But whenever I am on the road, I frequently see people throwing their litter out of their car’s window. Plastic bags, empty cigarette packages, even empty cans and bottles find their place at the side of the road.
Then there is the phenomenon “piknikçiler,” people who go for a barbeque during the weekend to the forest or any empty place where they can sit, light their barbeque and have some fun. Don't get me wrong, I think it is an essential thing for people, who can to get rid of their stress and relax together with their friends or relatives. But if you go to a place with plastic bags filled with food and drinks then why, after you have finished your picnic, not collect all of the empty things, put them in the plastic bags, and throw the litter into containers along the side of the road? Driving from Kemerburgaz to Bahçeköy in Istanbul, I really become frustrated and very sad.
Why is it that people who care so much about a clean house do not care about a clean environment? It takes years for the litter they leave behind to decompose (and some of the things never decompose).
Places where I would like to go to with my family are no-go areas because of all the broken glass. Animals cut themselves or fill their stomach with plastic and die from starvation; the rotten food causes a penetrating smell, as if I'm walking around on a dumping ground.
During summertime, pieces of glass become magnifiers and cause forest fires that can easily destroy areas as big as Beyoğlu in Istanbul or Kızılay in Ankara (sometimes even bigger).
Last weekend, I was in Göynük with some friends and wanted to take some nice pictures of one of the little lakes nearby Göynük, Lake Çubuk. It is about 12 kilometers from Göynük and the road to the lake has some fabulous views. Especially during autumn, it is such fun to visit Göynük and its environment. Being close to Istanbul, just a three-hour drive away, it is an ideal trip for the weekend. There are quite a number of pensions and boutique hotels there, of which Göynük hotel (www.goynukotel.net) is one of my favorites. They have, besides their hotel, a beautiful Konak (old Ottoman villa) where you can stay. This Konak is definitely my favorite. Beautifully restored, you feel like an Ottoman sultan while staying there. Besides, Temel, the owner, and his son know all about Göynük and the best places that you should see.
Temel told me the directions to Lake Çubuk and off I went. I was lucky; the weather forecast showed rain for the whole day, but instead there were some beautiful clouds and the sun was shining through the clouds, spotlighting on some of the beautiful trees, changing the autumn-touched trees into a halo of golden leafs. It’s a small, cute lake with a little neighborhood and an old house where you can eat during the right season. Unfortunately, it is closed now and the only place where they sell something (tea) is in one of the many windmills that were built there for a Turkish film.
Although the water was not really warm, I decided to roll up my trousers and head in. Not because I felt warm, but because I wanted to take some underwater pictures of the lake. I played around with my camera and left the lake. A little further away, two man were fishing. I wished the men and had a little chat with them. One of the fishermen, who was sitting in a little rubber boat and rowing up and down to place the fishing lines, told me this was their way of relaxing. The other man was busy with positioning the rods - seven in total. Suddenly, a little machine attached to the line started to make a loud peeping sound, but neither of the men became excited, and I did not see any fish.
A bit further away, there were a couple of trees in the lake and I wanted to take a couple of pictures of the trees, but once I approached the trees, I was in shock. Wherever I looked, I saw rubbish. Plastic bags, beer bottles, soft drink canisters, little foam plates of the barbeque meat and a lot of other detritus. It was a disaster. I approached the lake more closely and lots of frogs jumped into the lake to find a hiding place for the approaching danger. One of the frogs jumped into a plastic bag and wasn't able to work its way out again. I set the frog free and left.
As I have been saying in my television programs, I do not understand why people litter so much. You want to enjoy nature, I want to enjoy nature. But I want to see clean and untouched nature. So please, whenever you go to a place to relax or have fun, take your dirt with you and dispose it in the proper place. The way people leave natural spaces now turns them into one big garbage belt and I assume that is not something you want, do you?