On 8 April the project office for ecotourism development of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives held the second webinar dedicated to the waste management in specially protected natural areas (SPNAs). The webinar was moderated by CEO of Lake Baikal Foundation Anastasia Tsvetkova.
The participants discussed practical cases of waste management solutions in Russian reserves and national parks. Four managers from SPNAs made reports about their uneasy experience of implementing sustainable waste management systems.
Director of the FSBI «Zapovednoe Podlemorye» Mikhail Ovdin shared his experience of cooperation with Lake Baikal Foundation on the pilot project Trash Free National Parks launched in the Zabaikalsky national park in 2019. He expressed his willingness to continue to implement recycling practices despite the difficulties of transportation. The program will be prolonged and amplified in 2020.
Olga Pegova, Deputy Director of the Caucasus Nature Reserve, spoke about valuable experience of selected garbage collection in partnership with the Russian Geographical Society. Enthusiasm and environmental consciousness of the reserve’s employees allow to amplify the project and to create new eco-educational activities for tourists.
Vladimir Kuznetsov, Director of the Bashkiria National Park, provided the example of synergetic cooperation with the regional waste operator company which both initiated and supported selected collection of plastics, glass, metal in the SPNA, provided the national park with metal gauze bins, sortation and transportation services. Thus, the national park has spared up to 25% of the waste transportation charge.
The Leading Specialist of the Socio-Cultural Department of the Kenozero national park Nadezhda Inieva described in details the advanced sustainable waste management system, deeply rooted into the activities of all tourist sites in the park as well as daily life of local people and the SPNA’s employees: from separate collection of plastics, metal, paper, organic waste in hotels and on campsites to reducing consumption and non-recyclables in the whole national park. The program is being implemented with the support of the NEFCO Corporation.
Alongside the inspiring progress we still have to deal with more than a few problems including the following:
- Transportation of communal waste and recyclables from remote areas, distanced from recycling centers and landfills by 200 km and more. Commonly, regional waste operators and other companies find such cooperation economically unprofitable, and waste transportation becomes a real problem for many SPNAs.
- Food waste management. Organic waste is one of the most common fractions left by tourists in the national parks. The organics attract wildlife which breaks the ecosystems’ integrity and creates a threat for humans. Behind the lack of scalable practices on composting in SPNAs, especially with complex terrain, left organics are hazardous for the environment.
- Hazardous waste. Batteries, electronics, chemicals, gas-bags are only few pieces of hazardous waste which are left in the natural areas by tourists. The specialists are searching for effective methods to prevent these fractions from spreading.
- Motivation of colleagues, visitors and local people. Infrastructure for sustainable waste management will not work without environmentally responsible and motivated users. The leading SPNAs put much effort into eco-education and need to exchange experience, to get information and consult support.
We thank the colleagues for participation in the webinar and we are determined to keep on working for sustainable development of the natural areas!
The recording and materials of the webinar are accessible in Russian via the link.
Photo: Evgeny Dubinchuk