TV Show Exposes Dead Fish at “Patriarchy” Lakes, Government responds

If online presence is anything to go by while judging a TV program’s popularity and quality, last week’s episode of the environment-themed outdoor ‘Rati’s Blog’ program of the Iberia TV channel was a resounding success – the horror-inducing footage of massive amounts of dead fish floating in the so-called “Patriarchy Lakes” (allegedly owned by Georgian Orthodox Church) was viewed by more than 200,000 people online. The three lakes and the park surrounding them have been known as a popular fishing / camping spot for Tbilisi and Rustavi dwellers alike.

As if the fact that around a million fish had perished because of rampant pollution in the lakes (sewage is actually poured into two out of the three lakes) was not disastrous enough, the situation is further aggravated by the fact that the local population is taking some of those contaminated fish home as a means to a free meal. Yet another problem is the lush grassland that is steadily turning some of the lake water into swamp. Water pollution, on the other hand, is “complimented” by a large amount of trash strewn across the area, a gift from previous campers fortunate enough to find a reasonably clean spot. Despite what the name suggests, however, the lakes are the property of the government, specifically, Tbilisi City hall.

“We implore the government, the sanitation services, the city hall – whoever is responsible – to address this issue, as this might turn into an even bigger problem if not solved soon enough – the risks of epidemic outbursts are here for all to see,” said Tengo Beniashvili, President of Georgia’s Sport and Fishing Federation and one of the first to sound alarm bells when he witnessed what was taking place at the lakes.

“When we arrived to shoot the program, the pungent stench of rotting fish was unbearable,” says Rati Dolidze, the host of Rati’s Blog. “I used to visit these lakes in my early childhood and I remember how rich it was, with all kinds of fish. The territory was very clean and it was a pure joy being here. But what we’ve got now is this catastrophic picture. I was really emotional, it was a gruesome sight for me, but I think things like this need to be shown to people.”

And the decision proved right as, in what was nothing less of a commendable display of responsiveness, the government deployed task units to clean out the dead fish and the surrounding waste just two days after the show was aired. Though the “Patriarchy” lakes still need much improvement before reaching a semblance of what they used to be, this is a positive development and we can only hope to see it built on further.

Vazha Tavberidze

12 September 2016 18:18