16/07/2021 – The National Waste Management Strategy of Georgia envisages gradual closure of all existing landfills and their replacement with new regional non-hazardous waste disposal facilities. According to the mentioned strategy, a new regional facility and a network of waste transfer stations will be built for Imereti and Racha-Lechkhumi-Kvemo Svaneti regions. The modern waste management network in the region will be arranged in accordance with the standards and will replace the existing 8 old landfills. These old landfills will soon reach their maximum capacity, which is why they will be closed to standards as soon as possible.
In order to find a suitable location for the new facility, in accordance with the requirements of the new Waste Management Code and Environmental Assessment, the Solid Waste Management Company of Georgia has started the site selection process. The company has developed a new approach to the location selection process: “Inform – Invite – Involve”. This approach facilitates open and transparent discussion with the public.
This approach informs stakeholders and the public in the region invites them to discussion and involves them in the process of selecting the final location of the non-hazardous waste disposal site.
In the first stage of site selection, the Solid Waste Management Company of Georgia, together with international consultants, considered technical, economic, environmental and legal criteria and identified several suitable sites suitable for the construction of the facility. In order to take into account specific local aspects, as well as stakeholders and public opinion, these locations will be discussed with stakeholders and residents living in the vicinity of the selected locations.
To facilitate the process, the company, with the support of international consultants, established the Regional Working Group for Waste Management for Imereti and Racha-Lechkhumi-Kvemo Svaneti within the framework of the “Integrated Solid Waste Management – Kutaisi” project. The first meeting was held today, July 16. This group will facilitate cooperation between municipalities and the central government, both on municipal waste management issues in general and, if necessary, on specific topics. The regional group is chaired by a representative of the State Representative’s Administration and the Georgian Solid Waste Management Company. The regional working group includes representatives of municipalities, NGOs and local initiative groups. The regional working group will oversee the discussions and provide the company with a final recommendation for the location of the new facility, regarding the most optimal location.
In order to get more detailed information about local infrastructure, land use (pastures, crops) and important places for locals (historical, traditional places, etc.), direct communication will be established with representatives of communities in the vicinity of the potential location through a regional working group. Another important issue of discussion will be the possible implementation of development measures in communities located in the vicinity of the new facility and the identification of existing needs and priorities in this area.
This “specific” information is an important aspect of the location selection process. That is why the regional working group will set up a Site Advisory Committee (SAC), which will also include citizens living in the vicinity of the potential location. The main purpose of the committee is to analyze in detail all aspects related to potential locations, including considering the possible needs of local communities and then to participate in the final location selection decision-making process.
Public involvement in the construction and operation of the new facility will also be ensured through the establishment of a Monitoring Committee (MC) within the regional working group. The committee will include representatives of the communities/settlements living near the final selected location. During the life cycle of the new regional non-hazardous waste facility (construction, operation/operation, closure and post-closure maintenance), the Committee will monitor the Georgian Solid Waste Management Company’s monitoring mechanisms and represent the interests of both communities and the general public.