World Environment Day: How Coca‑Cola HBC Belarus helps to protect nature

Every year on 5 June we pay attention to environmental issues: air and water pollution, deforestation, drainage of water bodies, forest fires. Since 1972, World Environmental Day has been celebrated every year on 5 June at the initiative of the General Assembly of the United Nations
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The Coca‑Cola System tends to protect the environment and annually finances and implements the projects aimed at protecting water resources, reducing carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and addressing the issues of separate waste collection, as well as waste processing as part of its sustainable development program. In this article we would like to share some projects on environmental protection we realize in Belarus.

To revive the Krechet river

Six months ago, we launched a project on restoration of the Krechet river located in Bereza on the territory of the Sporovsky biological reserve. The goal of the project - to clear the bottom of the river from sludge deposits and vegetation, thereby to increase the quality and level of water. The New World programme of The Coca‑Cola Foundation and the non-profit organization Global Water Challenge allocated 50 thousand US dollars for the implementation of the project. In Belarus the project is being implemented by the International Public Association "Ecological Initiative "BURENKO-plus".

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To teach to separate waste

We joined the social and environmental project “New life in exchange for caps” to contribute to environmental education and plastics collection. The project team tells in plain language how important it is to collect different types of plastics separately and offers to place them into special containers. Coca- Cola HBC Belarus financed the manufacture and design of 23 wooden containers. Now they can be found in large shopping centers in Minsk (“Skala”, “Green City”, “Gallery”, “Outleto”), in four large supermarkets “Neighbors”, at the International Sakharov Environmental Institute of Belarusian State University, at State Pedagogical University M. Tanka, at Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics and other public places. Meanwhile, you can use the Green Map to find the nearest container for caps.

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To put out the fire and restore the Yelnya bog

The project idea to restore a raised bog in the Vitebsk region, which constantly suffered from fires, has grown from the organization of volunteer teams to one of the largest environmental programs in Belarus. The project started back in 2007, and during the first phase of the project, volunteers manually built over 50 dams. In 2015, together with UNDP in Belarus and The Coca‑Cola Foundation, we built 46 cascade dams in an industrial way. As a result, the water level in the bog has increased, unique ecosystems and the plant world typical for raised bogs are being restored, and humidified peat began to accumulate excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Our volunteer teams regularly visit the bog to repair dams in the landscape reserve Yelnya.

To improve waste collection system

One of the problems of the Belarusian waste collection system is data veracity. This does not allow us to estimate the volume of waste and to understand how to properly collect and recycle it. Therefore, we teamed up with the project “Involving the public in environmental monitoring and improving environmental management at the local level”, funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus. The project will help to understand the morphological composition of waste that Belarusians collect in containers. Scientists will track the way of PET bottles with built-in micro GPS trackers to better understand where polymer waste is being sent and collected. These data will help to make the necessary adjustments to the waste collection system and increase the recycling rate in the country.