Heavy industrial projects that have been planned or are being carried out in the region and in Poti may cause significant ecological problems. Today, when society is focused on how to solve economic difficulties, it is not easy to advocate environmental issues. However, at a public discussion organized with the support of the Heinrich Boell Foundation on 26 November 2010, participants tried to discuss ways to help Poti to improve its environment.
Irakli Macharashvili, representative of the association “The Green Alternative” and expert on environmental issues, and Giorgi Moistrapishvili, manager of the Issue Development Centre of Poti, spoke to open the discussion.
Representatives of the media, local NGOs, city government and interested youth from different clubs and associations participated in the discussion.
Moderator Irakli Absandze stressed that environmental groups are marginalized in the eyes of the local community, as most of them believe that large industrial projects will help inhabitants of the city to improve their socio-economic conditions. They consider the economy much more important than the environment and ecology.
The apathy of society and low awareness about environmental problems endangers existing green spots in the city, as inaction gives a green light to investors and authorities to begin implementation of large industrial projects.
Experts mentioned that it is difficult to gain information about ongoing or planned industrial projects in Poti. It is almost impossible to identify the real owners of the projects.
Participants of the discussion agreed that it is important to direct public attention to issues of the environmental protection. They also agreed that civil society and the media should work together to achieve this goal.