Government cracks down on littering

Citizens and legal entities will soon be fined for littering or polluting environment., 12 Sep 2014 - 17:17, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia is taking a tougher stance on environmental pollution and is launching a campaign to raise awareness and encourage waste management.

In addition, enforcers would take stricter approach on those who littered or polluted the environment, said Georgia’s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Elguja Khokrishvili today.

"By the order of the Georgian Prime Minister, our Ministry is starting a large-scale campaign, named ‘Don’t leave waste – take care of the environment’,” Khokrishvili announced.

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili gave this order to the Environment Ministry on September 5 after stating Georgia’s environmental pollution levels were high.

"Unfortunately citizens pollute areas where it cannot and should not be done,” Garibashvili said at the time.

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

Khokrishvili noted the Environment Ministry had conducted a study and prepared an interactive map that indicated locations and extent of contamination.

"In this regard we do not have good situation in Georgia,” he said.

The Minister believed one of the reasons why Georgia’s pollution rate was so high was because of the absence of a united waste management system. He noted the Ministry had finished working on a package of legislative changes that will tighten control over pollution of the environment.

According to the draft law, throwing less than 2kg of household waste into the environment was punishable with a 20 GEL fine. People who threw rubbish from a building site would be fined 30 GEL and those who littered from a vehicle could be fined 40 GEL.

In addition, individuals who dumped one cubic meter of rubbish could be fined 200 GEL and businesses could be fined 1,000 GEL for the same offence.

Khokrishvili said the draft law would be discussed by the business community next week, after which it would be sent to Parliament.

He believed the changes were important in terms of the Association Agreement, which Georgia signed with the European Union (EU) earlier this year.