09 February 2023

Schoolchildren in Nakhodka Help Rid the City of Unauthorized Dumpsites

An up-to-date map of unauthorized dumpsites in the Southern district of Nakhodka can become an effective tool in the fight against waste heaps. The creators of the map are ninth-grade students from School 3 participating in the ‘Formula for Success’ contest. The students plan to submit the research results to the Nakhodka administration and to the volunteers for the elimination of spontaneous dumpsites.

The ‘Formula for Success’ contest, organized by the Nakhodka Mineral Fertilizer Plant (NFP) with the support of the Information and Methodological Center “Razvitie”, is being held for the third time. The distinct feature of the contest’s “third season” is the practical orientation of the competition projects: students propose initiatives aimed at significantly improving the quality of life in Nakhodka.

The project is led by biology teacher Valentina Chernikhova, and the team working on compiling the map of spontaneous dumpsites includes ninth-grade students Alevtina Borzenkova, Anna Proshkina, and Yuliya Tonkonog. In the initial stage, the “Formula for Success” participants thoroughly surveyed the Southern district, not forgetting about remote locations such as Musatov and Tungus Bays. They documented each dumpsite, visually assessed its age and composition, and speculated about the possible violators.

“Alevtina came up with the idea for the project and invited us to join the team. We faced challenges at the beginning because it was a new experience for us. We didn’t even know where to start. But with the support of our teachers and loved ones, we overcame our initial confusion and made significant progress. Exploring the city is always interesting, and when the research can bring benefits, it becomes even more engaging. We plan to continue compiling the map of spontaneous dumpsites even after the “Formula for Success” contest, to make Nakhodka cleaner,” shared Anna Proshkina, a member of the project team.

Old furniture and clothing, construction materials, broken car parts, and household waste left by residents and tourists—according to the students’ calculations, the largest garbage heap they discovered has a volume of about 30 cubic meters.

“We focused on one district, but even that was a labor-intensive and challenging task that required discipline and meticulousness. We have two reasons for conducting this research. Firstly, it provides up-to-date information that can be used to remove waste and prevent the creation of dumpsites in the future. Secondly, for the researchers themselves, it’s an opportunity to familiarize themselves with a new format of presenting information. There are tables, graphs, diagrams, and, of course, maps,” explained Valentina Chernikhova, the biology teacher at School 3 and the project leader.

The students received a map of unauthorized dumpsites in the city district from the Nakhodka administration’s Ecology Department, dating back to 2010. In their work, the students compare how the situation has changed and what factors contributed to these changes.

It should be noted that over 160 schoolchildren in two age categories (grades 5-8 and 9-11) are participating in this year’s “Formula for Success” competition. The students are assisted by mentors and experts: employees of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Far Eastern Federal University, and Nakhodka Mineral Fertilizers Plant. As part of their project work and research, the participants have already visited advanced laboratories at the Polytechnic Institute of Far Eastern Federal University and the Nakhodka water intake facility.