2019 — present
In attempt to consider comprehensively conservation of the Baikal natural area Lake Baikal Foundation paid attention to one of the most serious environmental problems: littering and excessive amount of waste. The «Trash Free National Parks» program is aimed at comprehensive solution of the problem of left garbage and waste deposits in the national parks around the Baikal. The pilot project is being implemented in the Zabaikalsky National Park (the Republic of Buryatia) in 2019-2020. It extends by 260 thousand hectars and is annually visited by 42 thousand people.
The program is based on the principle «Carry In – Carry Out», which corresponds with the world-known «5R» concept of correct waste management: reduce, reuse, recycle. Following this principle, the visitors stop leaving their «garbage footprint» in national parks, they can separate and recycle solid waste. To this end all necessary infrastructure has been installed or repurposed: recycling bins and information boards for the visitors.
The project includes an educational part as well. During the whole summer period trained volunteers and national parks’ employees worked with the visitors, explaining to them the new rules of waste management. In 2020 the project unfolded a summer ecoschool: visitors of all ages participated in workshops and recycled garbage on their own. As a gratitude from the national park they received “green” tickets which can be exchanged by free services during the next visit.
Finally, the waste studies in 2019-2020 served as a base for the Concept of Sustainable Waste Management in the Zabaikalsky National Park. It primarily includes data on morphology, dynamics and logistics of waste accumulated in the national park, obtained by the international project expert team.
Practices and lessons of the project are scalable and adaptable for other protected natural areas in the Baikal region and in ither parts of Russia. The Trash Free National Parks program is open to develop and build new sustainable pertnerships.
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