On June 15, 2021, separate waste collection points were opened in the Chikoy National Park (the Zabaikalsky Krai) as part of the Trash Free National Parks program, implemented by Lake Baikal Foundation since 2019. The Chikoy National Park is already the second natural area where the Foundation replicates the practices of responsible waste management and sustainable tourism. The project is being implemented with the support of the L-PACK company and the RusPRO Association.
The introduced recycling system is designed to solve one of the main problems of Specially Protected Natural Areas (SPNA) which is littering and excess waste. For this purpose, 7 recycling points have been established in the Chikoy National Park: at the cordons of Atsa, Oskino, Shumilovsky, Khartsaga, Burkal, in the guest house and the office of the park. The design of recycling bins and information boards installed above them visually blends with the surrounding nature and at the same time helps visitors to correctly sort clean materials: plastic goes into the yellow section, metal belongs to the dark blue section, glass goes into the green one, and paper belongs to the blue one.
At the entrance to the national park, everyone receives a leaflet made of recycled paper with instructions on how to adhere to the «Carry In – Carry Out» principle in nature, how and why to sort waste. One can check it out while walking through the national park.
The tourist season in the national park is about to begin. Inspectors are repairing bridges and roads, preparing cordon houses for the arrival of visitors. Right now, you can use the recycling points in the office and guest house of the park, and in the near future they will open at cordons.
An important activity area in combatting waste pollution in the national park is educational program. The SPNA employees regularly organize educational events for visitors of the national park and local population. With the normalization of the epidemiological situation in the summer of 2021, the park employees will hold a series of ecofestivals in schools and children’s summer camps including exciting lessons, workshops on upcycling (reuse of packaging), screenings of the Responsible Tourism short film and prizes from recycled materials. Thus, adults also turn out to be involved in responsible waste management through their children.
Anyone is free to join the ecofestivals held as part of the Trash Free National Parks: Chikoy. The schedule of events can be found by writing a request to the following e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.Scaling up of the Trash Free National Parks program became possible thanks to the support of the World Around You Foundation. Together, we help the systemic transition to sustainable waste management in the SPNAs of the Baikal region. The Chikoy National Park is a unique and extremely inaccessible territory, which, like many protected areas, requires serious infrastructure support. It is important to encourage grassroot initiatives for separate waste collection that already exist thanks to the enthusiasm and desire of local community to preserve the nature of their region.