Aerial Footage Reveals Extent of Bishkek Waste Site

Application deadline: 
June 17, 2020

More than 60 per cent of Kyrgyzstan’s waste ends up in one landfill site on the edge of the capital Bishkek. The site covers an area the size of a small town, with waste reaching up to 10m deep at some points. Around 1,000 people work there every day – sorting, collecting and managing rubbish in the sprawling complex.

New aerial footage, produced by environmental activists who attended a Prague Civil Society Centre workshop,  reveals the extent of the notorious Bishkek municipal dump. The film shows the scale of the 60 square kilometre site, the vast collection of waste, the people, vehicles and animals that prowl the land – and its proximity to central Bishkek.

The film highlights just one aspect of how new technologies can help campaigners create exciting and eye-opening investigations.

The activists flew a small camera-mounted drone across the site, capturing high-quality video footage both of small areas of the dump along with wide, panoramic shots of the entire complex. Such techniques are increasingly being used by environmental campaigners and corruption investigators, in combination with mapping technology and satellite images, as it allows for cheap, quick and safe exploration of large areas, such as rivers, valleys, oil fields or industrial complexes. Aerial explorations can make virtually any geographical feature look impressive and interesting – an important aspect in helping campaigners attract the attention of the public and policymakers.

In 2013, Krygzstan secured international financing of €22m euros, including an €11m loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to build a new landfill site which meets EU environmental standards. Construction is scheduled to start this year according to local media reports.

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Our technology and innovation labs cover everything from cybersecurity and drone journalism to ad campaigns and investigative reporting. At a time when tried-and-tested methods of campaigning are losing relevance, we believe creativity is crucial to helping civil society reconnect with their communities.

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