by Lia Bezhanishvili / The Messenger Online
Environment protection has become a big issue in Georgia recently and public agencies are involved in many activities designed to preserve Georgia's outstanding natural resources.
On July 28 200 hectares of wood near Gujareti village were damaged in a fire. It took firefighters four hours to extinguish the flames and rescue crews were also involved in fighting the fire, making sure it did not break out again. Police believe that the negligence of locals caused the blaze.
The Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources also checked the radiation level in the resort of Surami to allay the concerns of the local population. Locals had complained that rumours about the radiation level had reduced the number of visitors to the village. Many locals earn their living by renting out property and they were worried that visitors were getting concerned about renting houses in Surami this summer.
“The air and radiation level in Surami township has been checked by the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources. It has been confirmed that the air in Surami is ideal and people can enjoy a safe holiday there," Chair of Khashuri Municipality, Davit Lomidze said. “The monitoring showed that the radiation level does not exceed the safety norm. This was not an unexpected result, I was sure that the monitoring will show exactly this,” commented Head of the Environmental Protection Social Safety Service Zaal Lomtadze.
The section of the River Mtkvari in Metekhi was also publicly cleared of polythene waste as part of the Ministry's action 'Be Clever with the Environment- the Polythene Bag is the Enemy' on July 27. The Minister of Environment Protection and Natural Resources, Goga Khachidze, and employees of the Special Situations Service of Tbilisi City Hall and the Ministry took part in this clearance. Representatives of the National Agency of Environment Monitoring also examined the pollution level of the River Mtkvari, as it is a cross-border river and it is important that its level of pollution is frequently monitored.
“We want to draw the public’s attention to two important issues. The first is that the environment needs protecting and we should not pollute it. The second is that our country and city are slowly becoming more interesting to tourists and it is shameful that the best indicator of our culture and civilization, the environment of the River Mtkvari, is in very bad condition. I call on everyone to direct their attention to these issues,” stated Khachidze.
The laboratory monitoring the pollution of the river has stated that the pollution level in the Mtkvari is within acceptable norms, but final results will be known in 5 days. Because of the importance of the river, the Ministry of Environment protection actively collaborates with donor organisations to increase its ability and resources to monitor it.