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Inhabitants Unhappy with Reopening of Rubbish Dump

16.03.2006

Inhabitants Unhappy with Reopening of Rubbish Dump

On March 14th, disgruntled Zugdidi inhabitants held a protest against the reopening of a nearby rubbish dump. The dump is located 40 metes away from the motorway by the entrance to Zugdidi. The protestors claim that the land is the only place left to graze their farm animals. They complain that the dump causes a variety of infections amongst the cattle and live stock which, in turn, creates danger to human lives.

The protestors state that the inhabitants seriously oppose the idea of reopening of the rubbish dump. They are ready for severe protest action.

The inhabitants link the strange deaths of two cows in their district with the location of the dump. “My cattle graze on this territory. Two days ago my cow died. The reason appeared to be some cellophane bags that my cow had eaten there. This territory is not fenced in, how does a cow know what and where to eat”, asks Arvelod Todua, “Who will compensate me for my loss?”

One of the protestors, Gogola Chania, recalls that once when he went to search for his cattle, he accidentally stepped on a broken bottle. Because of this he was infected with psoriasis. “I went to Sochi, where I was treated. However, a month later I came back because the illness is progressive. Gradually, I am getting worse and worse”, he says.

People talk about other dangers form the rubbish dump. “Most of the cattle grazing here are infected with different diseases. There is waste and other remains from a tuberculosis hospital here. The problem is that the meat of these cattle is then sold in the market, thus, not only we but the whole population faces real danger”, says Luiza Arkania.

For several years, the land has been a place for the rubbish from Zugdidi and its regions. All this time it has been a cause of dissatisfaction and discontent amongst the inhabitants. It should be also taken into consideration and the tuberculosis hospital is only 20 meters away for the place. A river also flows near to the dump. It is often polluted by garbage because the dump is neither protected nor confined.

The population remembers that they managed to stop the land being used for this purpose as a result of constant protest acts and strikes. Irina Jikia, the city mayor, refuses to acknowledge the reopening of the dump: “The rubbish dump was closed years ago. We have not taken any decision to reopen it again. The territory is unprotected and we do have plans to use it for this purpose”. Nevertheless, a decision to close rubbish dump does not prevent the employees of the Zugdidi Utility Services from dumping their rubbish illegally, cutting short the 7 kilometer journey to the legal dump at Onaria.

We tried to get Nugzar Malashkhia, the head of Zugdidi Utility Services, to comment but all attempts to do so have been unsuccessful. Thus, the position of his company is still unknown.  (Unfortunately, it seems the Revolution did not mean a change of old state staff.)

Maia Gubeladze from Zugdidi

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