Thanks to the Go Zero project, we were able to enjoy a week-long training in Istanbul with our Turkish partners from Boğaziçi Üniversitesi - an unforgettable experience that is definitely worth talking about!
Despite the long journey to Istanbul, we didn’t hesitate to explore the city as soon as we arrived. The first thing we did was to go to the Hippodrome of Constantinople, where on one side is the Hagia Sophia and on the other, the Sultanahmet Mosque. We were fascinated by the immensity of the mosques and the Egyptian obelisk in the square. We soon realised that this was a city of contrasts, a clash between the modern world and the remnants of the Ottoman Empire.
On Monday morning we started with the Opening Session, where we met the other project partners from Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, Italy and of course Turkey. There were several presentations about the objectives of the stay. On the first day we all had a typical Turkish meal together on the University campus. After lunch, we had a short tour of the south campus.
During this week in Istanbul, we had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the fascinating world of waste management and sustainability. From the very first day, we met a diverse and enthusiastic group with whom we would share this unique experience.
On Monday, we started with an introduction to the project and learned about local initiatives with the aim of achieving zero waste. We learned about the importance of food packaging and how we can contribute to reducing waste in our daily lives. In addition, we were presented with a recycled spectacle case, a tangible reminder of our commitment to the environment.
Tuesday was a day full of learning. Through various presentations, we discovered how agricultural waste is recycled and how sustainability measures are implemented in different production sectors. In particular, we were impressed by the example of how zero waste can be achieved in the paper manufacturing process. It was inspiring to see how industry can find innovative ways to minimise its environmental impact.
Wednesday was the day of our first excursion of the week. We visited the waste management plant “Akademi Cevre Integrated Waste Management Plant”, where we went inside the facility and got a close look at the recycling processes. We marvelled at the advanced technology used and the scale of the operations to minimise the environmental impact. It was an eye-opening experience that showed us how waste is managed in a city as populous as Istanbul.
On Thursday, we continued our learning by exploring topics such as adult education and different pedagogical methodologies. We also delved into the olive oil industry, highlighting the role it can play in reducing waste. We then took our second and final field trip of the week to the ISTAC Waste Management Plan, where we witnessed food energy transformation and composting.
On Friday, we delve into tourism and sustainable agriculture, two key areas for resource conservation and environmental protection. We delved into practices that promote responsible tourism and how we can contribute as conscious travellers. At the end of the day, we were presented with certificates of participation, a recognition of our commitment and dedication.
Istanbul has provided us with a week full of enriching experiences and valuable insights into waste management and sustainability.We take with us not only the memories, but also the renewed commitment to be agents of change in our own community.