Reducing the pollution of the Black Sea in rural Georgia

Managing wastewater by introducing sustainable wastewater and nutrient management in rural Georgian communities.

Georgia is bound to the west by the Black Sea with a coastline of 310 km. One of the major problems of the coastal areas of the Black Sea is the discharge of insufficiently treated sewage waters, infiltration of animal manure and land erosion, resulting in microbiological contamination as well as eutrophication and poses a threat to public health. Since the 1980s, the Black Sea pollution has also greatly harmed Georgia’s touristic industry.

There is a very low awareness on the causes of water pollution and water related diseases at local, regional and national level. Illnesses related to bad hygiene and water quality, such as diarrhea and hepatitis A, are widespread in the area.

The target villages Khorga with 1,320 inhabitants and Chaladidi with 1,245 inhabitants are located alongside river Khobi. Both villages belong to the Khobi Municipality, Samegrelo Zemo-Svaneti Region. The state of sanitation in both communities is deplorable. Major problems faced by communities in this regard may be attributed to: Low awareness about the causes of water pollution; no locally affordable and sustainable solutions addressing poor water and sanitation; subsidized cheap fertilizers affecting water supplies; manure stored and disposed close to the premises and the water supplies.The common pit latrines pose a number of health and environmental risks. All together eleven villages are located alongside river Khobi with a population of 22,000 inhabitants.

Activities focussed on prevention of environmental pollution, on education, health and hygiene matters so that physical facilities are properly used and maintained. The project will raise awareness and contribute to saving biodiversity in the region and enhance the tourism industry in the region. Lessons learnt from the project will be used for up-scaling and replication in nine other villages in the region

View on Khobi river alongside Chaladidi village

The problem of water contamination is caused by widely used pit-latrines, poor management of water resources, uncontrolled animal grazing, intensive use of chemical fertilizers, open and unsafe disposal of waste, including animal manure.

Simple, affordable decentralized sanitation systems, such as urine diverting dry toilets (UDDT) were introduced while appropriate technologies were demonstrated (for toilets, animal manure disposal, production of fertilizers, arranging community-managed landfills, recycling, composting, water treatment, etc.) with the participation of the communities .