Civic Movement “Gaviguidet” Summarizes 2020 Results of the Campaign for Clean Air in Rustavi
On January 12, the civic movement “Gavigudet” (i.e. we are suffocating) summarized the 2020 results of their advocacy campaign aimed at reducing air pollution in Rustavi. The movement, established in 2018, is undertaking diverse outreach and advocacy campaigns to address environmental problems in the city. EWMI ACCESS started supporting their campaign in 2020.
The atmospheric air in Rustavi is severely polluted due to emissions from more than 40 factories, the majority of which do not have proper air-filtering systems. Air monitoring has revealed that air pollution levels in Rustavi exceeded allowable limits during 266 days over a one-year period. In order to increase public awareness and attract supporters to solve these problems, the civic activists from “Gavigudet” skillfully and creatively use social media (disseminate interesting and engaging video materials and infographics), hold outdoor events (performances, tree-planting, open meetings with citizens), organize information tours to industrial zones and set up other awareness-raising activities. Thanks to their intensive outreach campaign, the number of eco-activists in Rustavi has increased significantly in 2020.
Apart from public outreach, “Gavigudet” is also actively engaged in policy planning and legislative work. It was a member of the working group that adopted the “Rustavi Atmospheric Air Action Plan for 2020-2022” which envisions improvements in the air monitoring system and oversight over implementation of the regulations, public awareness-raising and increasing green spaces in Rustavi. “Gavigudet” will actively monitor implementation of this Action Plan.
Thanks to “Gavigudet”s advocacy, the Parliament of Georgia preliminary approved legislative amendments focusing on: a) monitoring emissions via instrumental methods; b) allowing the Department of Environmental Oversight to seal off plants or installations if they pose a threat to the environment or human health or life; c) implementing stricter sanctions in case of breach of monitoring routines or exceeding normative limits. While final approval has been postponed several times, the Prime Minister has pledged to enact the changes in early 2021.