Open-call for the Eco-Festival “TRASH-4: Follow the Trash River”

Dear all.

we are happy announce our Open-call for the fourth environmental festival “TRASH-4: Follow the trash river”!

Timing of the project: August – October 2022 ||| Bishkek

Location: Ala-Archa Gorge, New settlement “Altyn-Kazyk”, and Ala-Archa water-reservoir.

Applications are accepted until August 20, 2022! Apply here  

We are accepting applications for the research ecological festival “TRASH-4: Follow the trash river” from environmentalists, activists, artists, journalists and concerned citizens. If you want to take part, then send us your works on the topic of the relationship between the pollution of the Ala-Archa River and the Bishkek landfill:

  • Stories, articles or reflections on water and garbage problems 
  • Artwork and installations
  • Drawings or photos
  • Poems and/or short fiction storytelling 
  • Songs or music, etc.  

All selected works will be published catalog of the Aralash zine (approximatly in the December 2022) 

Contact: +996500527484, Bermet.

“TRASH-4:Follow the Trash River” Eco-Festival Description:

This year eco-festival focuses on water and garbage issues in Bishkek and aims to create reflection and discussion. Together with activists, scientists, artists, citizens we are going to create a platform for communication that explores methodologies of how we can solve global environmental problems on a local and global level through reflections, experiments, art-intervention, analysis, installations, publications.

Nowadays the issue of environmental problems in Bishkek is very urgent – stinking garbage dump, smog, polluted agricultural land, hyper-cars and many other problems of the city threaten the health and lives of people. The problem of garbage is acute not only in Bishkek and all of Kyrgyzstan, but also in the world. The Bishkek landfill has long been out of service and a new one should be started, but it is not happening.

The Bishkek sanitary landfill accounts for almost 80% of all emissions in the sector, including methane, landfill gas and other harmful pollutants. Even after complete closure of the landfill, it will still emit emissions for about a hundred years (Calculations of data from the EIA – Environmental Impact Assessment for the landfill reclamation project).

At the same time the pollution from the garbage dump spreads to the nearest water protection zones of Ala-Archa water reservoirs, which are formed from the crystal clear river Ala-Archa, emerging from the Ala-Archa gorge – the pride of Kyrgyzstan. The glaciers of the Ala-Archa Gorge are retreating, the water becomes less and less, and the rivers passing through the city are being polluted – people dump waste into the river, it passes through a toxic garbage dump and five brick factories and other industries are built near the reservoirs. The problem of drinking water is acute in the coming decades due to climate change, so we want to hold a series of events highlighting this critical issue.

Highlights of the TRASH-4:Follow the Garbage River 2022 Eco-Festival: 

(tentative program, stay tuned to for updates).  

October 7 – “Shaarkana” on waste management and landfill involving experts, activists, officials, media and city residents. 

October 8 – Ecotour along the Ala-Archa River “Follow the Garbage River” – from the the Ala-Archa gorge along the river through Bishkek city, the garbage dump and to Ala-Archa Water reservour with researchers, activists, experts, media and artists to show by one example what happens to the river. Ecotour facilitator: Meerim Seidakmatova.

October 9 – Workshops by American artists on making paper from plants and food waste (Melissa Potter) and presentation of the Open Kitchen project (Alyx Christensen & Rudy Medina) + Screening of the film “The Hill”, a Cannes Film Festival participant (directed by Denis Gerbrand and Lina Tsrimova, 2022). 

December 2022 – Publication of festival results – zine “Aralash”.

Program of the ecotour along the Ala-Archa river “Follow the trash river” on October 8 

(For sellected throgh open-call participants and accredited media)

TimeProgram Content 
09:00-9:30Gathering of participants. Introduction to the Eco-TourDetailed information will be sent to invited participants
9:30- 10:30Irrigation in Bishkek + sampling + rapid assessment of water qualityTrip to Ala-Archa GorgeTechnical Aspect. Speaker Zhyldyz Kolhozbekovna Sadabaeva will talk about irrigation in Bishkek city, role of Ala-Archa river for citizens and peculiarities of drinking water Questions: data, technique, management. who distributes? What data is collected?
Drinking water in Bishkek Speaker Seth Feray 
Ala Archa river cleansing the citySpeaker will be announced
10:30-11:00Stop by Osh market. Discussion and questions, answers Interaction with speakers and discussion in transport
11:00-12:00Osh bazaar + sampling + quick water quality assessmentSocio-economic aspect. Speaker Meder Akhmetov: about beautification, impact on the river of people’s activities in the market.
12:00 – 12:30Обсуждение и вопросы, ответы Discussion and questions, answers. Interaction with speaker and discussion in transportation
12:30 – 14:00LunchNetworking
14:00 – 14:30 Departure to the landfillIntroduction to the problem of Bishkek landfill – civic initiative #MayorStopFire – Vladislav Ushakov
14:30 – 15:30 Landfill and its impact on the environment + sampling + rapid assessment of water qualityEcological-scientific aspect. Venera Edilbek kyzy will speak about her dissertation and the work she has done on the landfill.  

15:30-16:00Discussion and questions, answers Interaction with Speaker and Discussion
16:00 – 17:00“Library of Saved Books” – “Altyn-KazykThe social and cultural center in the new building Altyn-Kazyk appeared as a part of the previous Trash-Festival-3 and continues its work. Aimeerim Tursalieva and Bermet Borubaeva will talk about the project.
17:00 – 19:00Ala-Archa Reservoir + sampling + rapid assessment of water qualityFinal discussion with all experts and participants.
19:00 -21:00Dinner on the shore of the reservoir Exchange of ideas and opinions
21:00 – 22:00Clean up, pack up, and leave.Announcement of the next day’s program


Bishkek School of Contemporary Art (curator Bermet Borubaeva), Tazar Kyrgyzstan (curators Aimeerim Tursalieva, Munara Moldobaeva), moderator Meerim Seidakmatova. 

Partners: “Archa Initiative” Public Foundation. The “TRASH-4: Follow the Garbage River” Eco-Festival will be organized in partnership with UrbanHub – a community of urbanists and urban ecologists of Bishkek working on greening, air quality, waste management, urban infrastructure and mobility. 

Sponsors: The EcoFestival is funded partly by the Swiss government.

The American Artists Residency is sponsored in part by cultural exchange project the CEC ArtsLink International Fellowship Program.

Poster designer: Adele Ismailkhanova

About the organizers: 

Bishkek School of Contemporary Art (BSCA) is a dynamic online and offline platform that offers to accumulate and promote art practices, reflections and experiences in their various manifestations, both at the level of mediums and at the level of artistic decisions / gestures / acts.





Tazar Kyrgyzstan is a platform and mobile application for sorting and disposing of recyclable materials in Kyrgyzstan. We teach city residents how to properly sort and dispose of their garbage / waste / recyclable materials. We also train offices  to become responsible for their ecological footprint. 



App Store: