EBRD finances greener solid waste management in Georgia

Georgia Materials 13 March 2023 14:13 (UTC +04:00)
EBRD finances greener solid waste management in Georgia

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. A sovereign loan of up to €19 million for Adjara Waste Management Company will help tackle some of the most pressing environmental challenges faced by the tourist region’s inhabitants and visitors, Trend reports.

The first committed tranche of up to €3 million will be used to purchase new solid waste management equipment. This will enable the borrower to start new landfill operations and, consequently, stop waste being disposed of at the current non-European Union (EU) compliant dumpsites. The second uncommitted tranche of up to €16 million will be used to build a new waste treatment plant, allowing the company to recover recyclables and divert waste sent to the new sanitary landfill.

The investment will address the priority needs of Batumi (one of the EBRD’s Green Cities) as identified by its Green City Action Plan (GCAP) and the wider Adjara region. This includes stopping the disposal of waste at existing dumpsites in Kobuleti and Batumi, with the latter being the largest and most dangerous polluter in Georgia. These dumpsites are active sources of land, water and air pollution, impacting the ecosystem of the region in particular, and the Black Sea in general.

As part of the financial package the Bank will also support the borrower in promoting equal opportunities by developing training programmes that will provide access to technical skills and employment to young women and men in a traditionally male-dominated sector in Adjara.

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 builds on the previous operation in Adjara which supported the creation of an integrated solid waste management system and construction of the EU-compliant sanitary landfill, which was completed recently. The project was co-financed by a €4 million grant from the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA) and supported by the Sustainable Infrastructure Fund.

The EBRD has invested more than €5 billion in Georgia to date through 280 projects, with more than 80 per cent of those in the private sector. The Bank’s key areas of investment include the financial sector, sustainable infrastructure, manufacturing and services, and small and medium-sized enterprises.