Waste management improving helps residents of the Lida district to take care of nature and their health

The amount of municipal solid waste (MSW) and the conditions of their disposal at landfills significantly affect the state of the environment and human health in the region. To reduce their negative impact, it is necessary to involve as much MSW in recycling as possible, carefully sorting the waste. Non-recyclable waste should be compacted and disposed of in accordance with environmental legislation.

Solving these environmental problems requires the involvement of local residents and the formation of conscious behavior in waste disposal. To this end, from April 2019 to September 2020, the ecological initiative “Compacted Waste — Clean Air” was implemented in the Lida region under the leadership of the Grodno regional branch of the public association “Belarusian Peace Fund” with the support of the project “Civic Engagement in Environmental Monitoring and Improving Environmental Management at the Local Level”, funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Program in Belarus in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus (hereinafter — the Project).

The main activity of the initiative is information work with the local population on the issues of sorting and competent waste management and the impact of the conditions of the MSW landfill on human health. In parallel with this, cooperation was organized with the Lida State Unitary Enterprise of Housing and Communal Services to improve the system of solid waste disposal at the Khoruzhevtsy landfill using modern technology. By increasing the degree of compaction of MSW, the service life of the landfill can be extended by about 5 years. Accordingly, at this time there will be no need to create an additional landfill in the area. And also the amount of emissions into the atmosphere of harmful substances will decrease.

In addition to the Lida State Unitary Enterprise of Housing and Utilities, the Lida City and District Inspectorate of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, the State Educational Institution «Lida District Center of Tourism and Local History for Students» joined the initiative. Other partners also joined in the process, for example, the parish of St. George’s Church in Lida, institutions of additional education.

The main emphasis when working with the local population was placed on educational work with children and youth. With the support of the initiative since 2019, events on the topics of ecology and waste management are regularly held by educational institutions of the Lida District. For example, joint forest cleaning and excursions to the existing solid municipal waste landfill. The schoolchildren and the adults of the Lida District learned how the district is solving the problem of efficient and environmentally friendly waste management, why it is important to sort waste and what happens to it at the landfill, how it affects the environment and the health of local residents.

Photo courtesy of the environmental initiative

In addition to improving the MSW disposal system, it is important to take real measures to recover landfills (restore soil fertility). Within this direction, 4 years ago, the first trees were planted on the former MSW landfill near the village of Gudy. The ecological initiative «Compacted Waste — Clean Air» also joined the tree-planting campaigns in this area, involving the students as volunteers. About 300 saplings of red oak and hornbeam have been added to the forest plantations on the former landfill. All these trees were transferred to the department of the Lida forestry enterprise.

Since the start of the ecological initiative “Compacted Waste — Clean Air”, systemic improvements have been outlined in the work of the Lida Housing and Communal Services and in environmental education and upbringing in educational institutions of the Lida District. As a result, waste management in the area has been significantly improved.

Photographer Sergei Gapon