On February 13 to March 5, 2016, Jargalsaikhan Lkhasuren, senior officer at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Management of the Mongolian Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism, participated in an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) focused on hazardous waste management. During her IVLP, she learned about U.S. laws and regulations; shared experiences managing hazardous, chemical and toxic wastes; examined policy development and policy implementation; and explored challenges and best practices in managing systems for collecting, transporting, disposing and recycling of hazardous waste.
In Washington DC, Ms. Jargalsaikhan met with representatives from several government and non-government organizations to learn about their programs. The highlights included visiting the Bureau of Land Management to study reclamation methods and intragovernmental coordination and visiting the U.S. Geological Service to learn about the environmental effects of coal power plants and ash ponds. In Pittsburgh, PA, she met with representatives from organizations such as the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, Pennsylvania Resources Council, and Neumeyer Environmental Services Inc. to participate in discussions about topics such as preventing hazardous waste contamination of public drinking water, recycling of hazardous household waste, and abandoned mine cleanup.
In Kansas City, MO, Ms. Jargalsaikhan met with officials from the Kansas City Department of City Planning and Development, the Port KC, and Environmental Works. In these meetings, she discussed local practices for brownfields remediation, city planning strategies for toxic waste cleanup and environmental justice through urban redevelopment.
In Montana State, she visited Helena, the capital of Montana, and Butte, which is famous for Berkeley Pit, a former mining site that devastated the community with toxic pollution after it was closed in the 1950’s. After touring the Berkeley Pit and hearing about how years of mining in Butte has harmed the environment, Ms. Jargalsaikhan commented that there were many lessons for Mongolia on how to prevent a similar situation.
At her last stop in Portland, OR, she met representatives from the Oregon Department of Energy, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and other organizations to learn about topics such as local practices in grassroots activism and developing public‑private partnerships.
To learn more about IVLP, visit eca.state.gov/ivlp.