Let's Clean Kyrgyzstan’s Waste - the results of UNDP’s eco-competition announced

March 17, 2021

Kyrgyzstan has long had a problem in the collection and processing of solid domestic and industrial waste. According to experts, about 100 million tonnes of production and consumption waste are stored in 35 tailing dumps and 25 mine dumps. In Bishkek alone, according to UNDCP estimates, 1,000 tonnes of garbage are collected daily, a figure that increases by 20% annually. Experts estimate that about 16 million tons of garbage are in the landfills near cities and villages in the republic. 

UNDP in Kyrgyzstan works with innovators to sresolve the problem of solid waste management (SWM) in Bishkek. As part of this, an eco-competition on Solid Waste Management (SWM) was held and innovative projects were implemented.

In total, 28 interesting applications on separate waste collection were received and three of them received funding to implement and successfully completed their projects. The fourth project will be launched in April 2021, when the temperature permits to start the project.

First and mobile

The main problem in the organization of MSW disposal is the lack of awareness of citizens about the separate collection and recycling of waste. Separate waste collection is a simple but effective eco-solution used in many countries. The mobile application "Tazar" won the competition and offers an innovative approach to solve this problem.

Tazar is a convenient platform aimed at improving the waste management system in Kyrgyzstan and allows communication between citizens and waste recyclers. 

The app has a detailed map with recycling collection points "Recycle" and an option "Take My Recyclables" in which citizens are rewarded with bonuses for responsible waste management. 

Tazar application, social media poster.

"The new feature facilitates the sorting and delivery of waste and now, if there is a large amount of recyclables, citizens do not carry waste to the collection point, but call the employees of the recycling company at home. The app will allow you to combine all applications for more efficient and cost-effective logistics and even set a schedule for waste removal. Another feature of the updated application is the eco-guide, with the help of which the citizens can learn how to sort waste correctly. For example it is possible to learn what kind of plastic or glass is recyclable and what is not".

Ainura Sagin, the creator of the platform, Tazar

UNDP supported the marketing campaign of the Tazar app. As a result, minibuses with advertisements for the eco-application were launched. Numerous media materials were developed, as well as a video about the benefits of surrendering MSW with the participation of bloggers. The video was viewed by over 80,000 people. Placement of banner ads on the exterior of city minibuses to massively attract citizens. 

Part of the Tazar app video.

The map is already working in the app for iOS and Android and Tazar App users who want to get monetary compensation for garbage easily find the nearest collection points of plastic, glass, paper, polyethylene, metal, organics, machinery, as well as toxic waste collection points. With the support of UNDP, the database of MSW collection points has been updated, the work of an environmental researcher has been paid for, and online and offline communication support has been provided to popularize the application and increase the number of people delivering waste for recycling. 

Design for Cleanliness 

Second place in the competition was awarded to Bigreen team, who created the design of ecological urns for separate collection of plastic. Bigreen's team has its own philosophy, which is to gradually implement the culture of waste sorting. A special algorithm was developed for this purpose, which consists of several steps.

Plastic bottle installed by Begreen on the street of Bishkek

"The bottom line is that you have to instill a culture of waste sorting in steps. You cannot put garbage cans for several fractions of waste at once. You have to first train people to sort one type of waste. Once this becomes a habit, the next fractions should be added in steps. 

The Begreen team developed a unique urn design that replicates the shape of a plastic bottle. Given the peculiarity of our people not to pay attention to the inscriptions and signs on the urn, we specifically made the shape of the urns so that it was immediately clear: the urns are designed exclusively for plastic bottles. After successfully trying out this algorithm and installing our urns, we concluded that we needed to increase the number of urns. If before we only installed urns in public places, so that more people would notice them, and so that people would immediately throw used plastic into our urns, now we want people to start sorting plastic already in their homes and apartments. For this purpose, we started installing bins in the yards of residential complexes,"

said Aman Seydakmatov, co-founder of the project.

He also added that thanks to the design, more and more citizens are becoming conscientious and the environmental urns are filled in just four days. To date, more than 450 urns have been installed around the city. The initiators of the project introduce separate garbage sorting among the citizens. At the moment they hold talks with housing committees of the districts and tell them about the harm plastic does to the environment.

Mass media as a motivator 

Third place in the competition was awarded to the project "Clean Village", founded by Maxim Krechnev and Dmitry Luzhansky. They made a 25-minute documentary film and described in detail the experience of communities that practice separate garbage collection and ways to solve the problem. The film highlights progressive villages in Kyrgyzstan that have already implemented separate garbage disposal. In an accessible language, the film will engage a large number of people in solving environmental problems in the field of separate waste collection throughout the country. The film was made with the support of the United Nations Development Programme, and the main purpose of the film is to tell the environmental and social effect of the introduction of this method of waste disposal. The film is a motivational and a detailed guide to the organization of waste recycling in the village, the film showed examples used in our country. You can view the film here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jri5VO9iMUw

The fourth is not the worst

Despite the fact that there were three entries, the UNDP decided to

ing a fourth entry, which proposes the reduction of organic waste through composting of organic waste. The importance and relevance of spreading this method among the population is undeniable. 

According to various studies, about 50% of all waste is organic in nature. The solution proposed by the participants of the competition will significantly reduce the volume of organic waste and turn it into organic fertilizer. The author of the project "Eco-volunteer" - Nurzat Jumamudunova, eco-activist and teacher of chemistry and biology plans to install equipment for composting organic waste in residential areas of Ala-Too, Sary - Ozon market and ME Bishkek Zelenokhoz. At the moment the authors of the project are preparing for the warm season of the year, when it will be possible to install of the equipment. 

UNDP pays special attention to the issue of sustainable development of the country and environmental education of Kyrgyz citizens, forms a responsible attitude to the state of the environment through educational initiatives and competitions. 

This eco-initiative is held within the framework of the PAGE (Partnership Action for a Green Economy - https://www.un-page.org) project. The initiative aims to develop fast, diverse and effective solutions to support solid waste management (SWM) in Bishkek. MSW is a global environmental problem and a major unresolved issue in many parts of the world.