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Social responsibility: Sharing the benefits from waste management in Turkey

Paper, plastic and other forms of waste threatening to enter the water intake from a hydropower plant’s reservoir is a constant challenge and a constraint on plant operations. In Turkey, several tonnes of waste have been collected with the help of local schools – to everyone’s benefit.

Bahadir Sezegen
Bahadir Sezegen
Environmental and Social Management Coordinator

Bahadir Sezegen coordinates environmental and social issues for Statkraft in Turkey.

It started out as an effort from Statkraft Turkey to tackle the large amount of waste accumulating in the reservoir of the Kargi hydropower plant on the Kizilirmak River in northern Turkey.

It has turned out as a win-win situation, and a prime example of sharing value between the power plant, the neighbouring community and not least the local environment.

Children in front of waste bin
The children began enthusiastically collecting used paper and cardboard! (Photo: Bahadir Sezegen)

Waste means income for local schools

In the spring of 2017, a campaign was initiated directing at the local community. In order to achieve a sustainable solution to the waste problem it was decided to focus on increasing the knowledge and awareness about waste management, in addition to more immediate efforts.

In close collaboration with local authorities, local schools were chosen as pilot cases.

After kick-starting the campaign with an incentive scheme where every tonne of paper and plastic waste collected was rewarded with a used and recycled Statkraft computer, 10 tonnes of waste were collected and an impressive level of enthusiasm created.

Children throwing waste in bin
Collecting and recycling waste is on the curriculum for school children in Osmancik. An important measure is to reduce the amount of garbage that accumulates in the reservoir of Statkraft's Kargi power plant. (Photo: Bahadir Sezegen)

Sustainable handling of waste

Continuing the campaign without the computer incentive from Statkraft, local schools have been expanding the campaign and generating welcome income from paper and plastic waste delivered for recycling, and the Kargi power plant is reaching its main objective of reducing the debris flowing into the Kizilirmak River.

In the long run it is expected that there will be less waste coming from riverside villages and the Osmancik district centre a few kilometres upstream of Kargi.

Statkraft has also been considering how this simple, but highly effective initiative could be replicated to tackle waste management and debris challenges globally.

Bahadir Sezegen (right), who coordinates environmental and social issues for Statkraft in Turkey, hands over used and recycled Statkraft computers to Mahmut Karakaş, manager at Gemici Primary School in the city of Osmancik.
Bahadir Sezegen (right), who coordinates environmental and social issues for Statkraft in Turkey, hands over used and recycled Statkraft computers to Mahmut Karakaş, manager at Gemici Primary School in the city of Osmancik. For each tonne of paper and plastic waste collected by the children for recycling, the school received a computer as a reward. (Photo: Sener Demir)

"I'm proud to be part of this"

“This is a good example of how we work in Turkey,” says Bahadir Sezegen, who initiated the campaign and coordinates environmental and social issues for Statkraft in Turkey.

“Knowing the general challenges we face in Turkey with regards to waste management and recycling, I am deeply impressed by the efforts and commitment from the school children and their administration," he adds.

"The pilot project did not lead to a clean reservoir overnight, but we managed to put into place a simple system for waste handling which ultimately will educate people, improve the local environment and help Statkraft reach its objective of less waste flowing into the reservoir. I’m proud to be part of this.”

Drawings made by children
In the classroom, the young students have hung up wonderful drawings about delivering paper and plastic for recycling and making sure that garbage is not thrown out in nature or into the river. (Photo: Bahadir Sezegen)

"This is a good example of how we work in Turkey."

Bahadir Sezegen
Environmental and Social Management (E&S) Coordinator at Statkraft Turkey
  • Classroom with children and teacher
    Location: Osmancik, Turkey
    Photo: Bahadir Sezegen

    Collecting and recycling waste is on the curriculum for school children in Osmancik.

  • Classroom with children and teacher
    Location: Osmancik, Turkey
    Photo: Bahadir Sezegen

    Children learning the importance of collecting and recycling waste in Osmancik.

  • Drawing made by a school kid
    Location: Osmancik, Turkey
    Photo: Bahadir Sezegen

    The young students made drawings about delivering paper and plastic for recycling.

  • Location: Osmancik, Turkey
    Photo: Bahadir Sezegen

    The young students made drawings about delivering paper and plastic for recycling.

  • School wall with poster
    Location: Osmancik, Turkey
    Photo: Bahadir Sezegen

    Campaign poster on school facade.

  • Location: Osmancik, Turkey
    Photo: Bahadir Sezegen

    As part of the effort to achieve a long-term solution to the waste challenges in the Kargi power plant reservoir, two schools in Osmancik were selected for an environmental pilot programme in 2017 to raise awareness in the community about waste recycling.

Kargi dam
Location: Corum province, Turkey
Photo: Statkraft

See also: Safety on the timetable in Turkey

How can drowning accidents be prevented in open hydropower reservoirs? One good way is simply to talk to the largest risk group: children.

Read more