Municipality teams in the southeastern Mardin’s Artuklu district have been using donkeys to collect garbage in some of the neighborhoods due to the existence of several narrow streets connected through outdoor stairways.
The Artuklu municipality teams have been mounting boxes and sacks on the donkeys’ backs and using them to carry the collected garbage, according to reporting by the state-run Anadolu Agency.
Some 24 donkeys are helping with this job, working six hours on average per day.
For the summer season, due to the scorching heat, donkeys are made to rest between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and their working time has been reduced from six to five hours every day.
One of the team members said that the municipality covers all of the health expenses of the donkeys and the animals are made to work at most six years in their lifetime. After their service time is eventually over for the municipality, they are dispatched to an animal shelter.
Another cleaning staff said that both Mardin residents and tourists coming to the city show affection for the donkeys. “We take on the job early in the morning since the weather is hot. They (donkeys) are our true friends. If it were not for them, we would not have been able to do the cleaning,” said Necmettin Örter.
Another cleaning staff said that they take care of the donkeys. “They (donkeys) are walking in shadow (due to heat). We don’t put too much load on them,” said Gültekin Sabuktekin.
“Our mayor has also given an instruction saying, ‘Do not take them outside when it too hot; don’t put too much load on them. We are getting out in the mornings and collecting our garbage,” said another staff named Yasin Toparlı.