Waste Management in Turkey: Rampant Consumerism Leading To Environmental Disaster


There is a rapid increase in industrial and technological development in Turkey. Advancement in technology and economic growth finds an increase in consumer consumption. Consumerism or the maximum utilisation of available resources both natural and man-made is the driving force behind its economic development. When people buy stuff, stuff is manufactured and jobs are created. This process of consumption is important to keep the economy growing. A big part of economic activity today is selling products designed for the dump or easily discarded. This throwaway economy is extracting more and more of nature into products for sale which eventually ends up as waste.

The problems with consumerism are: mass production needs to procure raw materials in bulk which affects the scarce natural resources. Depletion of natural resources leads to environmental degradation. Use of excessive energy to finish production needs more fossil fuels. Increased reliance fossil fuels and automobiles cause more pollution. Increasing level of consumption and production require greater energy input and generate large quantities of waste products. Limitless consumption is putting too heavy burden on the planet. Our rampant consumerism is leading to environmental disaster.

Unnecessary consumerism is the root of many of today’s environmental problems. The two main effects of consumerism on the environment are: pollution and environmental degradation. Pollution such as air, water, soil, light, noise, thermal, radioactive come from different sources have different consequences but they are all interconnected. The avoidance of what drives our environmental pollution problems is a psychological issue. The psychology of polluters is rooted in man’s desire for convenience. Convenience is at the bottom of pollution in its residential and industrial manifestations.

Pollution is often caused directly due to inefficiency in waste disposal. The effects of pollution is many and wide-ranging. The excessive levels of pollution can cause great damage to human and animal health and to the environment. Major environmental disaster have been caused by environmental degradation. The deterioration of the environment caused by the depletion of natural resources can cause environmental imbalance. If there will be a continuing increase in environmental imbalance, there will come a time when earth will reach a point of no return. The planet will no longer be able to support its own functioning.

The increasing consumption creates larger amount of waste materials. Turkey has a problem with waste. Although garbage trucks do the rounds on a regular basis, the problem starts when the waste is delivered to uncovered landfills and left to rot. The biggest problem in waste management in Turkey stems from uncovered landfills which produce methane emission. The country’s overall methane emission increased by 52% between 1990 to present. The overall greenhouse gas emission related to waste increased by 120% during the same time period.

Most municipal solid waste are organic in nature and quarter of it is recyclable. Waste separation education through social media will help the government to involve the public to achieve its aim. Separate collection programmes for recyclable household waste is an evidence of public involvement and acceptance. Turkey aims to cut biodegradable waste in landfills by introducing stricter waste rules. Government efforts in waste management in Turkey include a reform of the Turkish waste industry. Introduction of more sanitary landfills, waste separation, recycling and waste-energy recovery are being done by the government to address its waste management problems.