Gov’t takes hard line on littering, environment pollution

Georgia's PM: "the maximum penalty for those who polluted environment. Photo by Tbilisii Cleaning Municipal Department., 05 Sep 2014 - 16:48, Tbilisi,Georgia

Those who purposely litter or pollute the environment will be slapped with huge fines, announced Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili at today’s Governmental meeting.

PM Garibashvili said a draft bill to increase the penalties for polluting the environment had been developed by the Ministry of Environment and would be submitted to Parliament in the near future.

He said the country had a major problem with waste removal and recycling and people should be punished for polluting the environment.

"Unfortunately, citizens pollute areas where it cannot and should not be done. We are always proud to have a beautiful country but at the same time, people who say this shamelessly throw rubbish and this is often done directly from cars,” Garibashvili said.

"There should be strict administrative penalties and fines related to littering and anyone who behaved irresponsibly will face the maximum penalty,” the PM said.

Deputy of Minister of Environment Protection and Natural Resources Maia Bitadze said there were legal regulations surrounding littering however this was not often enforced and penalties for people who dropped or dumped rubbish were "weak”.

Under the current rules, a person could be fined anywhere from 20 GEL "to a five-figure number,” she said. According to the changes, this penalty would be tougher.

Littering penalties are currently outlined in Article 146 of the Code of Administrative Offences.

The Code highlighted that if a person violated these rules by throwing construction and household waste on roads, rivers, lakes and lakesides, slopes and ravines, parks, lawns, gardens, playgrounds, parking lots, markets and other places, individuals could be fined 200 GEL, while legal entities, institutions and organisations could be fined 1,000 GEL.

In cases of repeated offences, a person can be fined 500 GEL while legal entities, institutions and organisations could be fined 3,000 GEL.