The project «Trash Free National Parks» of Lake Baikal Foundation is being implemented for the third year in a row in the Zabaikalsy National Park. It is based on the infrastructure for separate waste collection, as well as active educational work carried out by our volunteers.
The volunteer activities in the national park lasted from June 10 to August 26. During the summer period, 11 groups of volunteers took part in the project that reunited about 100 volunteers in general! All the volunteers have been trained on the topic of responsible waste management in national parks and are extremely interested in working with visitors, telling them about the importance of separate collection of recyclables, about the possibilities and features of putting waste for recycling.
There are five separate waste collection points on the natural territory: at the entrance to the national park, on the shore of the Soft Karga (2 points), at Cape Monakhovo and in Sorozhya Bay. From 2 to 4 volunteers, as well as campsite administrators, were involved at each point. The volunteers were responsible for informing the park’s tourists about the main principle of responsible tourism «Leave No Trace», as well as explaining the rules for separate waste collection.
Due to the restrictions associated with the pandemic, which were introduced in the Republic of Buryatia in the summer, there were force majeure situations on the project. For example, in July, volunteers were absent for several days at the separate waste collection point in the Sorozhya campsite and the waste was sorted by visitors not so carefully. Everything got better when the volunteers returned. This case proves that the mere availability of infrastructure for separate waste collection is not enough yet. At the initial stages, educational work is very important.
Already now we are summing up the first results: more and more tourists practice the principle «Leave No Trace» and remember the system of separate waste collection operating on the territory of the Zabaikalsky National Park. We hope that in another 2-3 years, tourists will begin to follow all the rules of the separate waste collection without being told and reminded, and also not to leave garbage behind in nature.
This year, the implementation of the educational part of the project «Trash Free National Parks» became possible, among other things, thanks to charitable donations from our supporters on the platform Dobro Mail.ru. The fundraising project of the Foundation «Let’s keep Baikal clean!» was supported in the amount of 64,704 rubles: this amount was fully transferred to provide volunteers with food during shifts. Also, the project «Trash Free National Parks» in the Zabaikalsy National Park was supported by the World Around You Foundation.
Thanks to the volunteers, the directorate and the staff of the Zabaikalsy National Park, the platform Dobro Mail.ru and to its curators, thanks to the supporters of the Foundation! We thank everyone who became a part of the project that is important for preserving the purity of Lake Baikal!