Legislative Amendments Launched to Reduce Air Contamination
The atmospheric air in Rustavi is severely polluted due to emissions from more than 40 factories. Air monitoring in 2020 has revealed that air pollution levels in Rustavi exceeded allowable limits during 266 days over a one-year period.
Considering these problems, EWMI ACCESS supports the civic activist’s group “Gavigudet” in Rustavi to increase public awareness and citizens’ engagement in addressing environmental issues in the city.
Thanks to Gavigudet’s awareness-raising campaigns and engagement in the legislative process, the Parliament of Georgia approved amendments to reduce air contamination. New regulations envision monitoring of the emissions via instrumental methods, imposing stricter sanctions in case of breach of monitoring routines or exceeding normative limits, and equipping the Environmental Oversight Department with more powers to seal off the plant and/or facilities if they pose threat to environment and human health.
The amendments entered into force on June 1, 2021, and concerns 24 of Rustavi’s 40+ factories. Gavigudet’s advocacy also includes active monitoring on the implementation of new regulations, as well as the “Rustavi Atmospheric Air Action Plan for 2020-2022” which envisions activities to improve the air monitoring system and increase green spaces in Rustavi. On the 31st of May representatives of “Gavigudet” attended the first hearing of the interim monitoring report of the Action Plan held in the Parliament of Georgia.
Gavigudet’s activists also skillfully and creatively use social media (disseminate interesting and engaging video materials and infographics), hold outdoor events, and organize information tours to industrial zones to attract more people. As a result of their intensive outreach campaign, the number of eco-activists in Rustavi has increased significantly since 2020.