A separate waste collection point has appeared on Olkhon. It was created by the Baikal National Park (Zapovednoye Pribaikalye) with the support of Lake Baikal Foundation and the ProNature eco-line from Henkel.
The separate waste collection point consists of six large colored containers: for pure plastic, glass, metal and other waste. Containers with information labels are installed now, but they will start accepting recyclables from tourists and locals in the spring of 2022. During the winter months, the national park will establish the operation of transport, on which recyclables will be regularly exported to the sorting station in the area of Had-Kutul and then for processing.
On the eve of the technical opening of the separate waste collection point, the project partner, the Give a Life to our Planet Foundation (Irkutsk), conducted environmental lessons for more than 200 school students in the village of Khuzhir on Olkhon. The children learned to make an eco-friendly choice of packaging (to distinguish tetrapack from cardboard, to distinguish types of plastic by labeling) and to use resources rationally (for example, to come up with an alternative to disposable items).
Olkhon became the third point on the map of the Trash Free National Parks program, which Lake Baikal Foundation has been implementing since 2019. In 2021, the Foundation and the Directorate of the Federal State Budgetary Institution «Zapovednoye Pribaikalye» initiated a project on the Saraysky beach of Olkhon Island – one of the main natural attractions of Lake Baikal.
Creating a competent infrastructure for separate waste collection in such a remote area is not an easy task. ‘The placement of the object depended on the conclusion of researchers and archaeologists – they gave a positive conclusion. The «pillow» above the waterproofing layer appeared thanks to the Directorate for the Construction and Operation of Highways of the Irkutsk region, — this organization provided the necessary fraction of crushed stone. The transportation of the elements of the separate waste collection site was carried out on the transport of the directorate, and when it came to laying slabs, it turned out that we simply do not have equipment with such a load capacity. And it was not easy to find a contractor on the island of Olkhon! Nevertheless, they found it. The deadlines were met. The object is ready. It will start functioning in the spring, says Marina Radzievskaya, Assistant Director of the «Zapovednoye Pribaikalye». – We really hope that the guests of the national park and the residents of Olkhon Island will take the work of the separate waste collection site with all seriousness and will separate the waste so that no sorting is required. The scaling of the separate waste collection project on other routes of the Baikal National Park will largely depend on this practice. This is not just a modern approach, it is a vital necessity to preserve the pristine nature of Lake Baikal.’
‘Every territory that becomes a partner of the Trash Free National Parks program is special. For example, the Olkhon project involves really many stakeholders with strong positions on waste management in the territory, which are not always easy to combine and combine into one system. The positive point is that all of them, including the «Zapovednoye Pribaikalye», the regional operator for the treatment of MSW, the local administration, small businesses and residents of Olkhon, recognize the importance of reducing the amount of waste that is generated on the island and then go to burial; and also prioritize the introduction of separate collection and sorting,’ said Ekaterina Terentyeva, project manager of Lake Baikal Foundation.
In addition to financial and expert support in creating infrastructure for the separate waste collection and conducting eco-educational events, the Foundation’s efforts are aimed at helping to build partnerships on the island of Olkhon, but this is impossible without the proactive position of all participants. It is important to note that waste management on this unique Baikal island requires careful planning. The division of solid waste into streams, the equipment of temporary storage sites, the container content control system and the logistics of the export of recyclables for sorting and processing are still unprofitable, but extremely necessary measures.
The Trash Free National Parks program is being developed thanks to the support of the World Around You Foundation of Siberian Wellness Corporation.
We thank for the support and participation of all those involved in the development of sustainable waste management in Olkhon as part of our project, and we continue to work!