Care2: Clean-Up Campaign to Kick Off in Martkopi this Sunday

Anyone who’s taken even a day trip out of town will have seen the trash hanging in the trees and littering the ground. Dumped by careless picnickers, blown away from illegal dumpsites or even thrown out of moving vehicles- the amount of litter in Georgia’s otherwise beautiful countryside is both sad and ugly.

You may have heard of the Geocell “Movla” (Care) campaign encouraging Georgians to clean up their country. In one year, 20,000 Georgians downloaded the App and 500 trash sites around Georgia were identified. So far, 400 of those have been cleaned up. The government is fighting an ongoing battle which many agree begins in educating people not to litter, but also necessitates more infrastructure (bins, garbage collection trucks, etc.) and, ultimately, fining the litterbugs.

Increasingly frustrated by the littering, a number expats living in Georgia, who come from vastly different cultural and educational backgrounds to the Georgians in terms of how to care for the environment, have decided to Care [for Georgia] Too.

The “Founders” of the new campaign are Devi Asmadiredja, Johan Strydom and Katie Davies.

Devi is an Indonesian-German mountain tour guide who has lived and worked in Georgia since 2011. She considers Georgia her home and told GEORGIA TODAY, “Georgia’s main treasure is its nature. I hate to see people disrespecting that. I hate even more when people talk about how disgusting it is but then do nothing about it. I grew up in Germany and we were raised not to drop litter, plus we had a good recycling system. Indonesia has a similar situation to Georgia, with most products packed in plastic- it took a lot of persuading to stop even my relatives throwing garbage carelessly”.

Johan, from South Africa, has been living in Georgia for three years with his Georgian wife. He is an experienced goldsmith but chose to open a tourism agency, Chemiani, here. “When I’m out with a tour group, it can be very embarrassing to stop at a place that is so messy with litter. I’m very pro-tourism and Georgia has huge potential for it, if only the locals would look after what they have”.

Devi agrees. “Last year, in Tusheti, at my basecamp in Chiglaurta, my friends and I took time to clean up the village. This was in May. In August, the village had its traditional festival- families came up, and again there was trash everywhere”.

She goes on to tell us that a number of calves then ate the plastic containers and bags and died, “which is economically really bad for the owner”.

Katie Davies, English language specialist and author, has been in Georgia 10 years and has three children by a Georgian husband. Her eldest, 7-year-old Lily, openly laments the amount of trash she sees when out on family walks and picnics. “She tells me, ‘why do people want to hurt nature?’ She doesn’t understand and neither do I,” Katie tells us. “I mean, I realize that in some cases the trash is blown from the villages where there aren’t enough dump trucks to service the number of people living there, but the problem of negligent littering, especially in the summer picnic season, is truly disgusting. Campaigns are starting to deal with it; the government knows it’s a problem and is working on educating and punishment, but the bags are still hanging in the trees and the bottles are on the ground. Something needs to be done now”.

“We set up Care2 to get people, from concerned ex-pats to locals, ‘putting their money where their mouth is’,” Katie says. “Not just talking about the problem but actively trying to clean up Georgia”.

The first clean-up event will be this coming Sunday in the Martkopi area just outside Tbilisi, one of those identified in the Geocell Movla campaign. Geocell will be providing participants with cleaning kits which include trash bags, masks and gloves.

EURO TAXI is generously offering its cars to transport volunteers to the location and a trailer to carry the collected trash to the nearest bin(s). Jens Kasper, 34, is a German who has been running Tbilisi airport-pick up service EURO TAXI since 2015. His company offers reliable cars and careful drivers with English and German language knowledge. His company also offers tours through Georgia and has baby seats and a small trailer for removals.

“We'll leave at 10am sharp from Rose Revolution Square, near the Big Bike,” Devi says.

This is only the first of many such clean-up events. Devi already has her own wish-list, based on what she has seen while guiding around Georgia: “Marneuli, Udabno, Pankisi, Eagles Canyon near Dedoplistskharo, Vashlovani, Tusheti… ” 

One look at the Geocell Movla map (link below) shows us just how bad the situation is even in close proximity to Tbilisi. Put simply, we, as a community of many nationalities united by a love for this beautiful small country, have a duty to care.

If you Care Too, join the group this Sunday.

The next event is planned for two week's time in Marneuli.


More information and updates about the Martkopi Clean-Up here:

Check out the Movla App here:


By Dimitri Dolaberidze


27 April 2017 15:42