As the Columbia Shuswap Regional District's Team Leader of Environmental Health, Ben Van Nostrand is responsible for implementing waste reduction programs, which include innovative work to help reduce the emission of harmful greenhouse gases into the environment.
Soon, he will be taking his knowledge more than 11,000 kilometres away to help combat climate change in Vietnam.
Van Nostrand was selected to participate in an international initiative to assist with a pilot project that will support two medium-size cities in Vietnam as they implement innovative solid waste management solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada and implemented jointly by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and their Vietnamese partners ACVN (the Association of Cities in Vietnam), the focus is on reducing short-lived climate pollutants, which include methane and other greenhouse gases. The knowledge gained from the project is intended to eventually be replicated in other municipalities across Vietnam.
On March 8, Van Nostrand will travel to the cities of Hoi An and Bac Giang to provide technical assistance to support these municipalities, assess their solid waste management practices, identify possible solutions and help secure funding.
In addition to this project funded by ECCC, Global Affairs Canada funds a number of international projects implemented by FCM. These projects offer Canada's local elected officials and municipal staff opportunities to foster lasting economic development, empower local governments and encourage environmental sustainability in the Ukraine, Haiti, and in countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. These programs also help Canada contribute to the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals, a worldwide call to end poverty, protect our environment and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
"Sharing and learning innovative practices with other municipalities and regional districts creates opportunities to create improvements in service at home and in other countries," says Charles Hamilton, Chief Administrative Officer of the CSRD. "The CSRD has an opportunity to expand its knowledge and reputation by using its experience to assist other countries in the development of effective and environmentally-sustainable services."
The program is particularly interested in Van Nostrand's knowledge of the CSRD's innovative landfill gas capture program. The biogas plant collects methane generated in a closed portion of the Salmon Arm landfill and converts it to carbon dioxide. Through a partnership with FortisBC, the biogas is converted to pipeline-quality natural gas used in the heating of 300 to 500 homes.
"I’m really excited to have been selected to participate in such a cool project and it's due, in large part, to the CSRD’s Board supporting innovative solutions for our solid waste management and greenhouse gas emission reduction programs. Taking what I’ve learned from CSRD projects and being able to apply that in Vietnam is going to be a great experience," says Van Nostrand.
This $1 million Vietnamese project is part of the Government of Canada's $2.6 billion climate finance commitment under the Paris Agreement to help developing countries tackle the challenges of climate change and transition to lower carbon economies.
Photos contributed: (Above) A building at the Hoi An garbage dumpsite contains all types of waste.
(Middle) Ben Van Nostrand will be heading to Vietnam in March.
(Below) A view of a landfill site in Vietnam. Looking at ways to deal with waste challenges is a critical component of this project.