Abkhazia moving towards resolution of garbage issue
The battle against Abkhazia’s many landfills, some of which are located directly in residential areas, has been ongoing between the public and the government of Abkhazia for several years. However, the first stage of the problem may soon be resolved.
• “This is an environmental catastrophe” – Abkhazia protests city landfill
All the garbage dumps used for household trash will be closed down. One large landfill will be created, where all household garbage from all over Abkhazia will be collected.
The landfill will cover 32 hectares of land near Katsikyt village in the Gulripsh district.
The two main criteria used for selecting this location were logistics [the location is central in Abkhazia] and the fact that it is not a heavily populated area.
“Even in Soviet times, this area was earmarked for a garbage dump. We are now simply implementing the idea. Katsikyt is located in the foothills, and no one lives nearby,” Aslan Baratelia, the head of the Gulripsha district, told journalists.
The problem of landfills in Abkhazia has existed since Soviet times.
None of the existing landfills conforms to acceptable environmental standards. This is recognized not only by environmentalists, but also by the authorities themselves.
Citizens living near landfills often spoke out, held rallies, and also blockaded roads. The situation, however, did not change, nor did it receive much attention or discussion.
Under pressure from local residents, the garbage dumps in Sukhum, Gagra and Gudauta were closed in 2018. But when garbage from these sites began to be taken away to landfills in the eastern part of Abkhazia, the locals there also began protesting.
Creating a single landfill far from residential areas was a great achievement for the local community. But now, activists say, there is a new struggle ahead.
After a few years the landfill will overflow, at which point a waste recycling plant will be needed in the area. This will provide for the possibility of waste to be converted into briquettes for use in agriculture, and to sell sorted plastic to enterprises in Russia.
So far this issue is being discussed only by the public and in a very theoretical sense.