Kaladze Calls for a Ban on Importing Used Cars from Abroad

Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze took part in a conference yesterday titled “On Building Consensus on Assessments of the Periodic Technical Inspection of Vehicles.” The conference discussed the progress of reforms that introduced mandatory periodic inspections of vehicles and the primary outcomes and future steps of the new law.

Kaladze spoke at the conference, saying that tackling the existing ecological problems in Tbilisi require reforms that might be painful, but are necessary, and require the involvement of society and activities by non-governmental organizations.

“Any research executed in this direction is critical. We have conducted a survey which is to be submitted to society in order to show them the environment we are living in. I think it’s impossible to remedy this circumstance unless specific reforms are pushed and tangible steps are taken. The role and involvement of each of us is crucial for changing this statement,” said Kaladze. Tbilisi City Hall presented Kaladze’s previously announced transportation policy, which depicts long-term prospects and proper measures to remedy the existing situation.

Kaladze called current conditions in Tbilisi “a complete catastrophe,” saying “more than 500 thousand vehicles move throughout the city.” He said that there has been a “7% rise in the number of vehicles imported from abroad” and that “98% of them are outdated.” There are 600-650 buses in the city, and only 143 are new. A statement released by City Hall quoted the mayor as saying, “Yellow bus park can’t stand the criticism, all the resources are run out; that was the reason of my assertion that the park would have been fully substituted by modern, ecofriendly buses over my office” [sic].

A more serious problem that public transportation, according to Kaladze, are private cars, 90% of which he calls “too outdated.” He also drew attention to the well-known problem of car owners removing and selling the catalytic converters in their cars that are meant to filter exhaust emissions. “The first thing to be done alongside with technical inspection is to halt importing old cars,” said Kaladze, “This might trigger some dissatisfaction, but this is the step that is to be taken. The matter concerns the health of our kids.”

Also as part of the conference, the organization Georgian Alliance for Safe Roads presented an action plan that included a public information campaign about the new technical inspection requirements. The action plan also includes monitoring the inspection processes from September-October of this year and March-April 2019 in cooperation with research organization GeoWell in regional test centers. An assessment of the reform will then be released to the public along with information on existing challenges whereas recommendations will be drafted for their eradication.

The conference was organized by Georgian Alliance for Safe Roads with the support of USAID. It was attended by the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Giorgi Cherkezishvili, Acting Director to the USAID mission Susan Kutor, Chairperson of the Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Committee of Parliament, Kakhaber Kuchava, and Deputy Internal Minister Nino Javakhadze, among others. Representative of non-governmental organizations also attended the event.


By Samantha Guthrie

Photo: Tbilisi City Hall

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03 July 2018 17:23