On the eve of World Environment Day, over 100 residents of Batumi’s Khimshiashvili and Ninoshvili streets joined a public outdoor event promoting the culture of recycling. Organized with support from the Accelerator Lab of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the community event followed a behavioral experiment carried out earlier this year, proving that the citizens would welcome recycling if there was better access to municipal infrastructure and services combined with an awareness-raising campaign.
Attended by representatives of UNDP, the Batumi City Hall, local environmental activists, volunteers and the district residents, the event featured workshops on waste separation, a quiz about recycling, a display of products made from recycled plastic, and other eco-conscious activities for children and youth.
UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Georgia Anna Chernyshova and Batumi Vice Mayor Lela Surmanidze handed over the certificates of recognition to the activists and volunteers engaged in the awareness-raising campaign, acknowledging the importance of the local grassroots movement in achieving systemic change.
“Batumi is a tourism-oriented and rapidly growing city, facing a huge challenge in sustainable waste management. UNDP is happy to support local authorities, civil society and communities in their joint efforts to build public awareness on waste separation and create municipal systems that benefit people and the environment,” Chernyshova noted.
The partnership with local community organizations and Batumi and Tbilisi City Halls started last September when 40 transparent collection bins were installed in two cities’ residential areas. This was followed by a locally targeted educational campaign on plastic waste collection in the pilot districts. The probe resulted in collecting nearly half a ton of polyethene terephthalate (PET) plastic waste in just two months, from January through March 2022,revealing important behavioral patterns and providing ground for practical recommendations.
Currently, Georgia generates around 900,000 tons of waste annually with more than 75% ending up in landfill sites. According to the National Strategy on Waste Management, Georgia commits to recycling 50 percent of its plastic waste by 2025 and 80% by 2030. UNDP continues to support Batumi and other cities in Georgia to meet this ambitious goal, introduce effective plastic waste separation practices and promote sustainable lifestyles.