Our permanent exposition is dedicated to pollution of the World Ocean. It incorporates 14 types of waste of different danger classes. The majority of the objects were collected on the territory of the nature reserve, namely Bering Island coastline. Schoolchildren from Nikolskoye and foreign tourists became the first to visit the educational platform in our visitor center.
The exposition speaks not about the harm that the waste can cause but about the necessity of recycling to promote effective use of natural resources of the planet.
Plastic objects, batteries, cigarette filters, fishing nets, rubber pieces became art objects and are equipped with special tablets telling where the objects where found, how long they take to decompose, what kind of damage is cause during this decomposition and why recycling or other utilization is beneficial.
A special place in our exposition is occupied by glass floor, which is divided into four sections. One section contains natural “waste” on local sand, depicting the coast – shells, fossils, animal carcasses. Other parts have fishing and household waste, which is common on any beach.
“For the exposition we chose a room of only 2x2 meters to underline the idea that we can rationally use all the space we have even in this tiny space. Guests of the museum will appear in the center of the global waste problem. They can touch any exhibit, each one of which has its unique history from the moment being bought to the disposal in the ocean”, said Ira Moskvitina, Ecological Education Specialist of the nature reserve.
One of the tasks of our “museum” is to show the role of each of us in creation of the new geological era of anthropocene, when the human became the major force for change in the environment. That is why after analyzing the exposition the visitor comes to a mirror and sees a rhetoric question “Who can influence the situation” in his or her reflection.
“The idea to create this exposition was born many years ago. The Commander Islands are situated in the Pacific Ocean and the problem of plastic pollution and waste influencing marine environment is very acute for us. We appreciate the contribution of Elena and Olga Mironenko, students trainees from D.Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia, who developed the overall concept of the exposition,” said Evgeny Mamaev, Acting Director of the nature reserve.
“Waste Museum” has already been appreciated by the first visitors –foreign tourists and schoolchildren form Nikolskoye Village, the only populated point on the Commander Islands.
“We are really happy to see this. Most museums are about the natural world. Here we see what the human world is. And this is really what the future is. The trash is in the ocean. It is really good for the youth to see what is happening to the marine environment. We are glad to be seeing this museum bringing education to what the future is going to be, unless we really get a hold of our plastic trash problem,” said Mark J. Rauzon, birdwatcher and geography Professor form Laney College, California, the USA.
Exposition “Waste Museum” is a part of a part of the joint project of the Commander Islands Nature and Biosphere Reserve and administration of the Aleut Municipal District called Green Commander Islands, the main goal of which is to promote responsible management of wastes. In the framework of this project, batteries disposal bins and containers for cartridges and luminous tubes were installed in the village on Bering Island. In the future we plan to launch paper, plastic and car batteries collection and install composting points for recycling of organic wastes.
For a short film about the project visit: https://youtu.be/L15MkP5L-D8