The Waste Management Technologies in Regions (WMTR) project has donated portable greenhouse gas (GHG) assessment equipment to Georgian beneficiaries that will enable them to establish baseline data on GHG emissions as a first step in reducing the emissions. The equipment, first of its kind in the country, was handed over to the National Solid Waste Management Company of Georgia (NSWMCG) in a ceremony at Rustavi landfill on March 10, 2016.
WMTR is working to promote GHG mitigation and sequestration by developing the waste management sector, including waste collection, recycling and public awareness in the regions of Georgia. Specifically, GHG emissions reduction remains one of the most important goals of the project, along with minimizing pollution of natural resources from landfills by closing down old, illegal landfills and dumpsites.
Solid waste management in the program regions of Adjara and Kakheti is already transitioning towards modern practices involving managed landfills, as well as improved solid waste collection and diversion. This process involves a number of factors including an understanding of current activities and associated impacts, as well as an understanding of potential future activities and associated impacts.
Presently, there is no reliable GHG emissions baseline data in Georgia, which makes it impossible to assess, measure, and monitor the progress of GHG reduction activities. To address these needs, the WMTR project procured in the U.S. and brought to Georgia the GHG assessment equipment that will enable such measurement and monitoring for the first time ever in the country.
Signing the MOU: William Althaus, WMTR Chief of Party; Giorgi Shukhoshvili, head of the NSWMCG; and Baia Dzanidze, WMTR communications officer/journalist.
As the ICMA project manager for WMTR, I visited Rustavi landfill on March 10 along with WMTR team and USAID mission representatives for the ceremony of testing and immediate transfer of GHG portable equipment to the NSWMCG. The ceremony kicked off with a speech from WMTR Chief of Party William Althaus, followed by the introductions from the USAID Mission Director Douglas Ball and the head of the NSWMCG Giorgi Shukhoshvili. Deputy Director USAID Economic Growth Office Veronica Lee and USAID Economic Growth Office Project Management Specialist Nino Kumsishvili also attended the ceremony.
Immediately afterwards, WMTR and NSWMCG signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) giving away the equipment to NSWMCG and securing their commitment to help the project by measuring GHG emissions at all Georgian landfills and sharing the data. After the MOU signing, WMTR GHG expert demonstrated to the USAID and NSWMCG representatives the equipment and explained how it works. Following the demonstration, the group headed off to the heart of the landfill to perform the official testing and take measurements. The event concluded with the video statements from USAID and NSWMCG.
In June 2014 Georgia signed the EU-Georgia Association Agreement and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, thus declaring the country’s willingness to comply with EU directions and requirements to reduce emissions of methane and other gases that contribute to global climate change. All parties emphasized the importance of the event and how valuable the donated equipment was for addressing the need to curb GHG emissions in compliance with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement. Going forward, WMTR team will provide the necessary training and technical assistance to the NSWMCG to conduct similar assessment activities in other landfills of Georgia and to monitor the reduction process.
In March 2014 ICMA launched a program to assist the country of Georgia to make improvements in its waste management and recycling systems. The WMTR activity is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development through a four-year cooperative agreement under the CityLinks™ Leader with Associates program. Designed to provide waste management and recycling support in selected municipalities in the Kakheti and Adjara regions of Georgia, WMTR is helping to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, minimize pollution of natural resources, enhance public awareness of waste management issues, and encourage citizen engagement. Through implementation of the program, ICMA is supported by the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN), ICMA’s local partner and the leading environmental consultancy in Georgia.