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World Environment Day – a ceremony, a competition and a maiden voyage

“On World Environment Day, the message is simple: reject single-use plastic. Refuse what you can’t re-use. Together, we can chart a path to a cleaner, greener world.” — Secretary-General, António Guterres

June 5 is marked by the United Nations as World Environment Day, a day set aside since 1974 to promote “worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment.”

A number of official events have been organised for this week, starting with the opening ceremony and wreath laying at Fethiye Town Square and a presentation to the winners of a competition held in schools where pupils were asked to come up with ideas for ways to hep the environment.

The highlight of the day was later in the evening when a very special boat was launched into the sea for the very first time…

“Beat Plastic Pollution”

Each World Environment Day is organized around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. The theme for 2018, “Beat Plastic Pollution,” is a call to action for all of us to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time. The theme invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health. While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become over-reliant on single-use or disposable plastic – with severe environmental consequences.

Dünya Geridönüş – a maiden voyage

Kate and Şeref Topcu are passionate about protecting the environment and are always looking for ways to highlight and improve environmental issues. They are both an integral part of the Türkiye’yi Temiz Tut project.

Kate and Şeref are very keen to highlight the overuse of plastics, the pollution it causes and damage to the oceans and the Earth.

This years Beat Plastic Pollution theme gave them the perfect idea – to build a boat out of used plastic bottles.

And that’s just what they did…

The five metre long boat took two months to build. Everything used was either found or recycled, in total 322 1.5 litre bottles, 302 0.5 litre bottles and 330 metres of abandoned fishing wire were collected and used to build the boat.

Nothing new was used.

World Environment Day arrived, the boat, Dünya Geridönüş (World Recycling), was ready and the plan was to launch it into the sea at Şat Jetty in Çalış at sunset.

And again, that’s just what they did…

We’re going to let the photographs tell the rest of the story.


Getting ready

The maiden voyage of Dünya Geridönüş

The boat went into the water at 19:30 to rousing cheers from the crowd who came along to watch and support.

Kaptan Yasemin was invited to be the first to take the boat out. Yasemin and her mum, Desree Sarıoğlu, both helped with the building of the boat.

Then it was Şeref’s turn. He told us he had always wanted to build a boat and this was a dream come true.

What a successful evening

Dünya Geridönüş was displayed in front of the Culture Centre in Fethiye until the end of World Environment Week.

Thanks go to

Güvens Restaurant and Carole, Nil Bar and Angelöznur, Bambu Restaurant and individual supporters for collecting bottles

Boat building helpers, Lee Leverinton, Desree Sarioğlu and her daughter Yasemin. Advice and support Richard Oldham. Plus lots of support from Kate and Şeref’s lovely friends.

A final word from Kate and Şeref

“We really want to encourage people to stop using single use plastic and adopt a more healthy caring attitude towards our Earth and environment”

This article was first published on 7 June 2018.

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Lyn Ward

Lyn Ward

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