Samara, on the Volga River, is one of the leading industrial cities of Russia with a population of a little more than one million. The Volga River has been used for commercial traffic for hundreds of years. Today, it suffers from industrial water pollution.
Enter the Alcoa Foundation Advancing Sustainability Research (ASR): Innovative Partnerships for Actionable Solutions initiative. The initiative provides funding for non-proprietary research to solve global and regional issues, giving $4 million to organizations in seven countries.
In Samara, the funding goes to three organizations finding innovative ways to manage industrial wastewater. Students are doing research into the use of aquatic plants to filter and treat oily wastewater before it gets released into the Volga. Funding also goes to the Samara Technical University to modernize their curriculum.
Local business leaders are also educated about government regulations regarding clean water and the liabilities and obligations to the local community. The initiative also distributes information about the latest methods and research into water management from around the world.
Alcoa employees in Samara also volunteer to do clean-ups and other projects to help protect the Volga ecosystem.
This initiative builds on prior work by the Alcoa Foundation in the Samara area where educational materials were sent to local classrooms. Field trips and activities were organized to care for the local environment and build awareness of simple conservation steps citizens could take on their own. More in-depth environmental education was available for students who showed an interest.
The sustainable initiative supported by the Alcoa Foundation sets up a positive future for the Volga River, its ecosystem, and all those who live downriver of Samara.
Samara, Russia photo via Shutterstock