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Kyrgyz Municipality Embarks on Waste Sorting

Balykchy launches modern waste-sorting plant


  13 forum posts

BISHKEK (24.kg) — Balykchy residents hope that the new waste-sorting plant will gradually rid their windy city of the unpleasant sight of plastic bags clinging to bushes and empty cans scattered along the roadside.

The Balykchy Municipality’s “Beautification and Sanitary Cleaning” municipal enterprise has been working towards this goal for two years. A lot of time was spent on developing the project and writing a business plan, which was laid on the table of an investor engaged in gold mining at the Kumtor deposit.

Towards the end of 2019, when the project was approved and the company allocated almost KGS 5.5 mln for its implementation as part of the Local Business Initiative programme, the coronavirus pandemic broke out. As a result, the waste-sorting plant did not start operating in the Windy City until January 2021.

Marat Tarzhiyev, director of the municipal enterprise, says:

We used the grant to buy Russian-made equipment. Due to the closed borders, it was delivered with a delay. Then they could not install it for a long time — they were waiting for specialists from Russia. In the end, we had to take online advice and install it ourselves.

Balykchy produces 17-18 thousand tonnes of waste annually.

We chose a line with a capacity of up to 20,000 tonnes a year. Today there are seven people working at the plant, including the landfill manager. They sort plastic, cardboard, metal and glass. The Bishkek-based company Plastik.KG won the tender to buy the pressed “useful waste.

Local officials do not intend to stop there. They plan to build a waste-processing plant next to the waste-sorting complex. An investor is being sought for this. Marat Tarzhiyev says:

The project is unique in that it is the first time that such a facility has been opened on the basis of a municipal enterprise. We live in a biosphere zone, where there are about 70 landfill sites. Ideally their number should be reduced to 4-5, and production facilities for processing and sorting of rubbish should be set up in each of them.

Imagine what will happen to Issyk-Kul in 50 years if nothing is done. The region will turn into one big garbage dump.

The strong winds typical of this Issyk-Kul town blow lightweight cellophane bags all around, and the polyethylene ends up in the lake, which is only five kilometres from the town dump. Burying waste under layers of earth is no solution either. And it’s not just an environmental issue that takes decades to resolve.

As part of the project, city beautification services have installed bins to collect plastic bottles. In Balykchy schools and kindergartens there are special containers for paper and plastic. Marat Tarzhiev is convinced that the younger generation should be educated to have a sensible and careful attitude towards the environment.

Aidar Jalgayev, father of five children, who combines two jobs at the enterprise — sorter and watchman — agrees with the opinion of his superiors:

People are gradually becoming more conscious, but we are still far from being in good order […] Since I started working here, I have also started sorting rubbish at home. And I teach my neighbours too.

The working day at the recycling complex lasts from 8 AM to 5 PM The work is piecework, and the wages depend on the “output”. But one way or another, the seven people have a stable income and can feed their families.

In addition to the sorting and packing machine shop, there are two containers on site. One is used for lunch and relaxation, the other is used to store the final baled products. Up to 2 tonnes of waste can be sorted each day. Landfill director Kylychbek Azimov said:

During the winter time there is little “useful waste”; during the summer season, the figure rises to 4-5 tonnes. Up to 40% of MSW can be recycled.

Thanks to Kumtor’s contribution, Azimov believes, the city will become cleaner, the overall environmental condition of Issyk-Kul will improve, and people will live on clean land. In addition, if every Balykchy resident and guest of the region “makes an effort to maintain order, nature will breathe freer and be pleasing to the eye with pure beauty.” ■


  Forum posts

  • The problem of this city, like many municipalities in the third world, is garbage collection. This kind of sorting plant is pointless if the garbage is not properly collected. It seems to me that this is the case here. Moreover, sorting is useful if you do something with it (recycling, valorisation, selective treatment...) but the article doesn’t tell about it. Anyway this plant is very tiny. I wonder if it is really useful for anything.

  • In developing countries, waste management activities are usually carried out by the poor for their survival. It is estimated that 2% of the population in Asia, Latin America and Africa depend on waste for their livelihood. Organized families or individual manual scavengers are often involved in waste management practice.

  • @Hellena

    This is not the case in Kyrgyzstan. What you describe concerns very poor and populated countries.

  • Instead of criticising or ridiculing, it’ better to encourage them. The EU should actually subsidise such initiatives. This is good for us, because pollution knows no borders.

  • Good projeh, we need the same in Iran but not russian machines. russian machines are not good. Germany best machines;

  • Bishkek currently lacks the capacity to handle separated trash collection on its own. Given the scale of the black market trash collection system it seems unlikely that this new new sorting system will make much of a splash in total trash and recyclable collection rates anytime soon.

  • The United States is the largest exporter of waste with 16.5% of the world rate, followed by Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and finally Belgium. As a global center of reception and redistribution, China decided in 2018 to ban the import of 24 kinds of waste into the country. This new Chinese legislation would turn the entire global sorting economy upside down. The Chinese decision has resulted in the transfer of waste processing to other countries in Southeast Asia such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. However, these countries do not have sufficient infrastructure to handle the sorting of global waste. Since then, several countries such as Malaysia and the Philippines have decided to stop receiving waste from the rest of the world.

  • @Anpanman

    What’s your point? I don’t see what this has to do with the article

  • What he means, I guess, is that the third world is becoming a landfill for industrialised countries. For me, this is a great opportunity for these countries to make money. They can even ask money to invest massively in waste treatment. Any waste can be recycled or transformed into a harmless and inert material, it is a matter of cost and energy. In fact, there is no such thing as waste, any waste can be a raw material for other uses.

  • Donors and grants are a financing tool that relies on the interest of the donor. Waste management is an overwhelming expense for municipal governments.

  • “useful waste” is said. What’s that?

  • @Kudrenok

    “useful waste” is sa recyclable waste which can be sold as rax material to industries, like glass or aluminium.

  • Waste is a business with a great future.

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