Development of a Waste Management Concept for the Tourist Regions of Lake Baikal

Joint German-Russian Program, sponsored by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Berlin and the Federal Environment Agency, Dessau within the scope of the "Advising-Assistance Program"


Lake Baikal is the largest fresh water reservoir in central Asia and contains 20% of the world’s fresh water supply. UNESCO designated the region as a world nature heritage in 1996.

Today the lake is an attraction for domestic and foreign tourists. Every year, thousands of Russians, as well as guests from Germany, China, Japan, England, France and Switzerland visit the "holy lake". In the region of Irkutsk alone over 200 companies organize tourist activities.

Olkhon, the largest island in Lake Baikal, is the most important tourist region. At the moment, no organized disposal of trash is possible. The lack of planning and infrastructure for the collection, transportation, reuse and disposal of municipal waste has led to the development of large, uncontrolled dumping grounds.

In addition to the covert disposal of trash in the forests surrounding the island’s populated regions and rest areas, the steady stream of tourists, especially through uncontrolled camping, has caused many of the island’s beautiful coves, beaches and coastlines to look more like landfills, degrading their tourist appeal. The uniqueness of the “Blue Wonder of the World – Lake Baikal” is partly being lost and with it the means of existence for many Buryats.

The project’s objective is the development and implementation of a sustainable communal Waste Management Concept for the Island of Olkhon. A further goal is the strengthening of the economic foundation of the area to provide for sustainable regional development and the restoration and preservation of the ecological functioning of Lake Baikal.

The project is being carried out in cooperation with the Irkutsk Region’s Department for Environmental Protection, the administration of the governmental district of Olkhon, the Technical State University of Irkutsk, and the local non-governmental organization "Baikal Wave".

Lake Baikal plays a special role in the German-Russian partnership. The commitment to this project was emphasized by Parliamentary State Secretary Astrid Klug of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conversation and Nuclear Safety when she met with A. Tischanin, the Governor of the Irkutsk region in August of 2006 and formally announced the "Project for the Development of a Waste Management Concept for the Tourist Regions of Lake Baikal".

The German Ministry for the Environment is supporting the two year long project, which began in September 2006, within the scope of the "Advising-Assistance Program" sponsored by the Federal Environment Agency.