EBRD Funds Eco-Friendly Waste Management in Georgia
To tackle pressing environmental challenges faced by the inhabitants and visitors of the tourist region, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is committing new funds to address solid waste treatment issues in Batumi and the wider Adjara region in Georgia. Adjara Waste Management Company will receive a sovereign loan of up to €19 million.
The initial tranche of funds, totalling €3 million, will be dedicated to acquiring modern equipment for managing solid waste. This will enable the borrower to commence fresh landfill activities, thereby discontinuing the use of non-European Union (EU) compliant dumpsites.
The subsequent tranche of funds, which is uncommitted and can reach up to €16 million, will be used to construct a new waste treatment facility. This plant will enable the company to retrieve recyclable materials and prevent waste from being sent to the new sanitary landfill.
The investment will include measures to halt the disposal of waste at existing dumpsites located in Kobuleti and Batumi. The Batumi site, in particular, is recognised as the most hazardous and extensive polluter in Georgia. These dumpsites are presently causing severe land, water, and air pollution, adversely impacting the region's ecosystem and the Black Sea.
As an integral component of the financial package, the bank will assist the borrower in promoting equal opportunities. This will be achieved by creating training programmes that facilitate access to technical skills and employment opportunities for young women and men in the Adjara region, which has historically been male-dominated.
Lasha Khutsishvili, Minister of Finance of Georgia, said: “I am delighted to be signing an agreement with the EBRD for a project of great significance for the Autonomous Republic of Adjara to address environmental problems in the country. It will help transform Batumi into a more attractive tourist destination for local and foreign visitors alike. Once again I wish to express my gratitude to our partners for supporting priority socio-economic projects in Georgia.”
Catarina Bjorlin Hansen, EBRD Regional Director for the Caucasus, added: “The EBRD and the government of Adjara have a great track record of cooperation. Batumi was the first city where we financed the acquisition of municipal electric buses. We also supported the construction of a new sanitary landfill in Tsetskhlauri. We see that the government is committed to protecting Adjara’s ecosystem, and we are delighted to help.”
The new loan is a continuation of the previous initiative in Adjara, which aimed to establish an integrated solid waste management system, including the construction of an EU-compliant sanitary landfill that has recently been completed. This project was co-financed through a €4 million grant from the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA) and supported by the Sustainable Infrastructure Fund.