Open Meetings with Residents in Poti to Discuss Environmental Problems

Open Meetings with Residents in Poti to Discuss Environmental Problems

The environmental situation is drastic in Poti, with the city’s seaport and industrial zone causing air pollution and persistent, unpleasant smell of fish. Citizens report difficulties breathing, with harmful substances emmitted directly into the air due to the lack of proper air filters and safety standards.

EWMI ACCESS has supported the civic platform “Poti Citizens for their Own Rights” for over a year in mobilizing citizens’ advocacy efforts. Thanks to this advocacy campaign, the Poti Municipal Assembly (Sakrebulo) installed a mobile atmospheric air monitoring station near the seaport. The results were unequivocal, showing high PM-10 and PM 2.5 concentrations over five months.

Another initiative by the civic platform found soil contamination and heavy metals concentration among children’s hair blood samples. The laboratory tests for these samples all showed high levels of lead in vast majority of children. While > 5μg/dL blood lead levels need remedial action, one child had 125 and another 60 μg/dL. Children also had increased levels of other hazardous chemicals (copper, colloidal silver, etc.).

In order to have a better insight into the situation and support locals in solving these issues, EWMI ACCESS organized a bus tour to Poti on July 18. Here, journalists and CSO activists from various regions met with residents, provided consultations, and offered support within their competencies. The visitors also pleaded to voice the citizens’ requests to decision-makers at the national level and offered free legal aid to Poti residents.

Among the participating organizations are the Civic Activities Centre and news portal “Mtisambebi.ge”, Platform “Salam”, Cactus Media, Human Rights Center, Knowledge Café, web portal Civil.ge, Initiative Group “Winter Stock,” Georgia Ecotourism Association, Winner Women’s Club, Tbilisi Pride, Coalition – Education for All, and Network of Centers for Civic Engagement.

As a result of the citizens’ advocacy, at the end of July, the Poti municipal government started wide-scale medical examinations to detect the impact of harmful emissions on children’s health.

Categories: Breaking News

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