Consultation Meeting on Pollution Abatement Plan in the Kura River Basin in Georgia
Tbilisi - On September 23, 2020, in coordination with the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture, virtual Zoom consultation meeting was held on pollution abatement plan in the Kura River basin in Georgia.
The meeting was chaired by Dr. Mary M. Matthews, chief technical advisor of the UNDP/GEF Kura II Project. Opening remarks were made by Anna Chernishova, Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP Country Office and Mariam Makarova, the National Focal point of the UNDP/GEF Kura II Project.
The meeting was also joined by country representatives of USAID, World Bank, UNIDO, ADB offices in Tbilisi.
Prior to this meeting, the UNDP-GEF Kura River Project team had assessed the main polluting sectors in the Kura Basin in Georgia and had identified two key industries in this sector – poultry processing and slaughterhouses. Protecting water resources from pollution is one of the main pillars of efficient water management and especially important during times of droughts.
It was noted in the meeting that 29 slaughterehouses were inspected in Georgia across the Kura River basin. Although all of them were of rather a small-scale, they had big impact on the water quality around them, both surface and groundwater Most of their waste, including blood and other biological remains, went directly to the water distribution networks which would later end up in the Kura River. The companies did not have a cleaning and liquid waste filtering infrustructure, there was no system of separating blood and other remains. Slaughterhouses as well as dairy companies’ activities did not even meet national standards. There were visible vialatons of the national regulations: these two sectors were the main pollutants of the water in the Kura river basin. However, it was also noted that the Bill of Water Resources, as well as the Environmental Liability Bill and other mechanisms to be enacted in the future, will give the state more mechanisms to control business activities in the environmental direction.
International Experts advised for a cheap and/or no-cost methods, that would improve both quality standards, potential human health problems and state of the water quality around business activities.
The workshop main speakers agreed that investing in a new infrustructure is worth it because most of them are not expensive: sometimes they are free and therefore economically viable, in case of a goodwill of both a business operator and a regulator – the state. It was also mentioned ISO 14000 as a standard to implement to minimize business-operations’ negative affect on the environment.
The meeting was wrapped up with comments and questions. The participants said they would be in constant communication with each other to coordinate about abovementioned problems and their potential improvement.