The National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia and the Open Society Forum has organized its last 2019 morning discussion on human rights on 19 December on “Waste is a treasure”. Guest speaker of the event was M.Bujinlkham, initiator and founder of “Zero waste Mongolia” NGO, “Plastic free Mongolia” movement, one of the first members of the “Journalists for human rights”.

Last few years she has dedicated herself into waste management, providing continuously trainings and advocacy work to general public and target groups. At the beginning, guest speaker introduced herself.

“Hello, my name is M.Bujin. \artist name Bujinlkham\ I am a journalist, writer and mother. I have been working as a journalist in 2008-2015 at TV9, ETV. Besides my occupation and passion, my children are my reminders of my responsibility and consciousness of life. I try to improve and change myself just because of them. The thing is a human is a tiny little particle of a nature. We fully depend on nature. However, development accelerates, humans move away from nature and becomes dependent from chemical products. Thus putting endanger the existence of humanity. For me choosing cheap, lightweight plastic is equivalent to poisoning your children by your own hands. Thus, I try to reach to public on “waste management” relying on my previous practice in journalism.”

Mongolians traditionally prefer environmental friendly consumption and practiced culture of minimalist lifestyle; however, modern overconsumption or marketing influenced consumption becomes a real problem that needs a solution. Therefore issues of waste management, recycle, reuse shall be improved at a policy making level. For instance, size of landfills in Mongolia is 1200 sq. m, which is equivalent to length from Ulaanbaatar to Umnugovi province but in square meters, and that much landfillcontaminates soil and air we breathe.

Waste that we produce is changing quality of products we eat everyday such as milk, dairy products, meat, which might have a negative effect on our health. For example how many of us could witnessed a cow eating something from accumulated trash.

A person can start limit his/her plastic usage at least at their family level by not throwing a trash into a bin, but disposing a segregated solid waste. A solid waste disposed into a nature poisons us for 7-8 generations, so guest speaker urged to segregate waste, to start using a services collecting wastes, take your segregated garbage to specialized collection points, or at least to make a note on your garbage “to recycle”. In order to reduce your own waste first you should analyze your consumption and do conscious grocery and shopping. That means you should get used to consider whether package of that item is biodegradable, recyclable, reusable in long term. For example a water in a plastic bottle could become hazardous, also burning all that plastic is not a solution as well, that emits hazardous substances of heavy metals into atmosphere.

This time morning discussion was full of vivid examples from our lives, directed to change our approach and mindset. In 20 or 30 years from now we would like to live in a healthy, clean, environmental friendly country, therefore we need to build mindsets of our children for a better and brighter future. There was no single book for children on garbage and waste, therefore “Zero waste Mongolia” NGO has published a book for children “Garbage Monster”.

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