Natalia Yakunina / Dream Island / Russia / Primorsky Krai / Environmental conservation / Waste management

Natalia Yakunina

Preserving Primorsky’s island environment through better waste management

Faced with continually accumulating waste that threatens the exceptional biodiversity of the Primorsky Krai coastal region, Natalia set herself the task of kick-starting a community project to bring together pro-active people keen to safeguard the rich and fragile environment of these island territories.

In the deep south of the Russian Far East, Primorsky Krai is home to a constellation of paradisiacal islands stretching off the coast of Vladivostok. But the richness of the local flora and fauna is suffering from the absence of an organised and sustainable system for collecting and removing waste between the islands and the continent. This mismanagement is contributing to landscape degradation, the deterioration of residential areas and the pollution of seawater.

Nearly 60 islands threatened by fly-tipping

This alarming situation prompted Natalia to take action. She succeeded in winning over support, uniting a team of volunteers working towards a major challenge: setting up an effective system for cleaning and maintaining pristine conditions on the Primorsky island territories.

Over 9,000 bags of waste collected

Since the movement began in 2014, 28 uncontrolled landfills, scattered over five Primorsky Krai islands, have been eliminated. In total, thanks to the commitment of the many volunteers, island residents and helpers from all over Russia and the world, more than 70 tonnes of waste have been evacuated from the islands to the continent.

Broadening the scope of action

Natalia’s ambition is to expand out to encompass more and more island territories by continuing to raise awareness about waste sorting and recycling among local populations and tourists in an effort to establish an efficient and sustainable long-term waste management model.

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