Heidi Trautmann

212- Turtle for Trash – Trash for Turtle - An environmental event at the Alagadi Beach

By Heidi Trautmann


Tağmaç Çankaya and his group of activists - they call themselves "A few nice people" have again attracted the attention of many people, people who are interested to see things in Cyprus change, to see the public become active themselves, not to wait to be told what to do or not to do. A fresh wind is blowing as I said after the successful exhibition “Cypriot Travellers” Tağmaç had arranged. Among the people around him, young ones, are the active and creative ones, architects, artists, poets, musicians, who very impulsively got together and became active for the cause of environment. We want it, we do it. I believe in young people who still want to change things and do not linger in a false security dream or put their head in the sand.

This was their message:

Beach, a winter day, hot chocolate, many people with good intentions, warm smile and lots of TRASH… Take all this, keep them together for a day, and here is a big TURTLE. How? Pretty easy, let us explain:
For two weeks, we save the recyclable materials at home. Then, we add these materials to the collected ones on the Alagadi Beach on 15.1.2011. A turtle model designed by our architect friends would then have the starting material to be built up. To continue, under the guidance of valuable artists, we assemble the trash - knowing that it is no longer trash, but a turtle-to-be along with all the messages it conveys. At the end of the day, on the beach, we leave THE TURTLE (3X3m) made up of recycled materials collected from home and the beach, staple, glue, human energy and effort, lots of fun, and unforgettable memories, meaning, a “MASTERPIECE”, a “WALKING PANCARTE”, a “SYMBOL”…

It was a lovely afternoon when I arrived and the beach in front of the Alagadi beach restaurant was packed with mostly young people interviewed by television and media about their motives. I recognized Mesut Günsev (Ada TV) and Nazif Bozatli representing the Temiz Deniz Association.

Quite a number of waste bags containing aluminum tins and plastic bottles were waiting to be used for the event’s purpose to be recycled into a giant turtle. Tağmaç Çankaya and Desen Çizenel explained that they had designed the solid infrastructure of 3 x 3 m and this was to be covered up and filled with the tin and plastic trash. At a table aside people were cutting up and flattening the tins, joining them with thread and using them for the turtle’s head and legs. A group of musicians sat in a circle in the sand beating with drum sticks or hands on hollow containers to create the rhythm to perhaps carry the rumour into all directions. Other visitors were walking along the beach still collecting rubbish.


The final idea is to move this giant turtle to a main place in Kyrenia as a monument to augment the awareness of people to realise how much waste they have produced and that it would be better to recycle the material instead of throwing them into the waste bin or out of the car window onto the roads.  At the same time the population is to be made aware that the turtle and other animals of sea and land are our heritage and should not suffer from the waste we produce.

This event is meant to be repeated on other places with more trash turtles to be set up on village and city public places. I do hope that people will not be led to start drinking more from tins in order to produce more trash for turtles.

Perhaps this event will initiate the establishment of a recycling plant, the acquisition of a metal press so the metal reduced to manageable sizes can be sold for further use.

And I just hope that the trash turtles are strong enough to withstand heavy storms and rains.

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