In April KESAB Executive Director John Phillips OAM and Wipe Out Waste (WOW) Program Manager Jo Hendrikx partnered with the Khangarid Rotary Club “Greenways Project” (receiver of an Australian DAP Grant) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to conduct a Waste Conference and deliver WOW PD Training to Teachers and students (Level9). Ulaanbaatar is Mongolia’s capital city, similar in size to Adelaide, with approximately 1.3 million inhabitants. It is located in the central north region of Mongolia, and sits at 4300ft.
In our brief trip, we were introduced to the variables of Mongolia’s weather, -10c with snow and a Gobi desert dust storm all in one week. (We were lucky as winter temperatures often drop to minus -30c). We also had the opportunity to visit a local landfill, which gave us an appreciation of the tough environment. Nomadic herdsman are located on landfill sites, to sort recyclables, bringing with them their herd of cattle, which graze on the waste (including plastic).
Raising awareness and engaging with stakeholders including schools, municipal, waste industry, media and government (Australian and Mongolia) are key to improving recycling, waste management, reducing litter and facilitating sustainability education learning and training.
The challenges in Mongolia are many, and we identified a number of opportunities that have potential to make a difference. These included;
- Improved landfill management
- Changing practices to include separation at source
- Increased recycling of paper and cardboard (social enterprise)
- Stronger stewardship roles by the waste industry sector and municipal government
- Development and implementation of a focused waste strategy
- School Teacher PD and student resources
Outcomes include acceptance and support for the Wipe Out Waste School resource which has potential to be introduced to schools. KESAB training sessions were accepted with great enthusiasm and genuine interest at all levels and teachers and students eagerly participated.
We could not escape the excitement of being in the land of Genghis Khan and his dynasties fighting courage shaping Mongolia through the ages. Our hosts ensured we were embraced through new friendships and an eagerness to influence change working in partnership with KESAB.
As part of KESAB environmental solutions global social enterprise responsibility Stage 11 of the Greenways Project is currently being considered for 2018. We will keep you posted!