Green economy trends: eco-education and advanced technologies

How the industry supports the course on ecology and instills culture in schoolchildren

Every year the environmental agenda in the world and Russia is getting louder. Climate change, environmental pollution, landfills — all these problems speak not only about the need to ensure environmental safety in the field of production and reduce environmental impact, but also about the need for environmental education, starting from childhood. About how large enterprises help to significantly improve the environmental situation in the country and, at the same time, support numerous projects aimed at forming an ecological culture among children and youth — read in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Fostering respect for the environment

The interaction of businesses and the government in many ways helps to solve problems efficiently and on a large scale. Today, there are more and more environmentally conscious businesses. Companies actively participate in large-scale actions, major international projects aimed at improving the level of culture, environmental knowledge and the formation of a careful attitude to the environment among the younger generation.

It is no coincidence that right now young people are starting to worry about the future in all aspects, including environmental ones — what will happen to nature and climate if the current trend continues. These issues have largely become the leitmotif of the recent international children's and youth competition 'Ecology is everyone's business', the federal partner of which was Russia's largest petrochemical company SIBUR.

The award was established by Rosprirodnadzor in the spring of this year. Over 9,5 thousand applications were received in 6 months. The best environmental initiatives of children aged 7 to 16 from 86 regions of Russia and 27 countries of the world were gathered at the site.

The results of the competition were announced during an online conference. The professional and expert jury presented about 200 finalists for awards, almost half of them took first, second and third places in 12 nominations of the competition, four awards were given to journalists, and the rest were awarded with special prizes.

“It can be difficult to develop a habit of responsible consumption and respect for the environment in adulthood. But in children, the picture is still being formed. It is very important to draw their attention to modern problems in time and teach them the principles that become an integral part of the life of an educated person. Thanks to the participation in the competition, thousands of children had the opportunity to better understand environmental issues, and we are glad to be part of this big project. SIBUR pays a lot of attention to educational work in this area, the support of the competition gives us the opportunity to better understand how the younger generation sees the future and its role in it," said Dmitry Konov, the chairman of the SIBUR management board.

“Environmental education must begin with a parent”

There were many schoolchildren from the Republic of Tatarstan among the winners of the competition, which indicates the high environmental responsibility of the younger generation in the region. The students presented the most interesting and creative ideas dedicated to the preservation of the environment and respect for nature.

For example, 10-year-old Jacqueline Lutfullina from Kazan, who took first place in the nomination “Eco picture”, depicted birds in respirators against the background of enterprises polluting the air.

“With this picture, we wanted to show how important it is to preserve the blue sky for life on earth and to reflect on how a person affects nature. It is necessary to learn a responsible attitude to animals and to everything that surrounds us," says Jacqueline's mother Anna Lutfullina. “It is very important to start instilling environmental education from childhood. Just such contests motivate children and further help to form environmental habits. My children and I constantly take part in various environmental events of the city, plant trees, collect batteries, waste paper, sort garbage.

Another winner of the contest in the “Eco-family” nomination is 13-year-old Azaliya Khannanova from the village of Dzhalil in the Sarmanovsky district of the republic, together with her father and brother, built birdhouses for birds. According to the girl's father, Ilnur Khannanov, this is a long and useful tradition in their family.

“Birds are an important part of our nature and we should help them. Besides, building birdhouses is a great opportunity to engage a child with hand work, to introduce the basics of carpentry in the age of gadgets and electronics. It is necessary not to miss the moment in the upbringing of a child, it is important to teach them to value nature from childhood. Those who love nature will not break a tree, will not destroy a bird and will not remain indifferent to all living things. But, first of all, environmental education must begin with the parent. I have been studying ecology since 2011 and, at the same time, I teach my children," says Ilnur Khannanov.

By the way, Tatarstan schools pay special attention to the basics of eco-education. For elementary classes, the lesson is a fairy tale, but for senior classes, it is a more serious format.

“It is important not to intimidate, but to interest children. Therefore, during the lessons, we tell children about the environment in a playful way, draw posters, make memos, colouring books on the topic of forest fires, organise master classes," says Rinat Davletov, one of the winners in the Eco-School nomination, director of the Leshev-Tamak public school.

Industrial ecology

Besides, industrial enterprises of the republic also play an important role in eco-education. For example, Nizhnekamskneftekhim holds the action “Plastic, give up!” in sponsored schools of Nizhnekamsk, the purpose of which is the development of plastic recycling.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim has launched a pilot project this year to install reverse vending machines for collecting used plastic packaging. The first devices were installed in six sponsored educational institutions of Nizhnekamsk, two more machines appeared on the territory of the industrial zone.

Thanks to SIBUR's participation, the collected plastic will be transferred for recycling, after which the prepared secondary raw materials will be sent to the POLYEF enterprise in Bashkiria for the production of “green” PET granules Vivilen rPET. It will be possible to produce new bottles, consumer goods and packaging for them from this eco-friendly material containing recyclable materials. By using of recycled plastic, such products will have a smaller carbon footprint compared to products made from primary raw materials.

Being a vivid example of how to do business and not harm the environment, the leading manufacturer of synthetic rubbers in Russia Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC (part of SIBUR) annually invests millions of rubles for the implementation of environmental protection measures. The results of this work have not gone unnoticed. By the results of the All-Russian competition “Leader of environmental activities in Russia” Nizhnekamskneftekhim has become the best environmentally responsible city-forming enterprise.

The jury of the competition highly appreciated the introduction of modern technologies at the enterprise, the rational use of natural resources, the renewal and modernisation of technological equipment and other environmental programmes.

Thus, the large-scale modernisation of the biological treatment facilities of Nizhnekamskneftekhim made it possible to forget about unpleasant odors in the atmosphere, which in recent years have worried residents of the city and the district.

In the last 6 years alone, the flagship of Tatarstan's petrochemistry, Nizhnekamskneftekhim, has implemented more than 480 events. The company has significantly reduced the amount of harmful emissions into the atmosphere, the consumption of river water, while increasing the output of marketable products.

Another leader of Tatarstan petrochemistry, Kazanorgsintez PJSC (part of SIBUR), can also be noted for its high environmental responsibility. Kazanorgsintez PJSC has allocated over a billion rubles for environmental protection measures over the past 3 years. This year, more than 40 measures aimed at monitoring the state of the environment, protection of soils and land resources, energy conservation, waste management of production and consumption, protection of water resources and atmospheric air have already been implemented.

Besides, the project of Kazanorgsintez for the modernisation of flare units has been recognised as the best in the nomination “Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation” of the national award in the field of environmental solutions ECOTECH-LEADER 2021.

Ensuring environmental safety and solving environmental problems is, first of all, a profitable investment in the most valuable economic resource — in their own citizens, their health and human capital.

Lutsya Kashapova