| 18 Jun'10 |
Laboratory analysis confirms the fact of Mashavera pollution, but “Marneuli” denies the accusation.
Bolnisi municipality’s Daba Kazreti residents are concerned over the pollution of river Mashavera. According to them, it’s impossible to use water even for irrigation. Residents blame the Joint-stock company “Madneuli” for the contamination of the river.
Marika Chachua, Bolnisi
Village Tamarisi residents carried home sacks full of dead fish for two days. Residents say the massive death of fish was caused by certain chemicals in the water, and lay the blame with the JSC “Madneuli”.
“The river has changed color especially during the last two days. One could catch fish easily too, for it was dead already,” says a resident of the village Tamarisi.
What caused the pollution of the river? The issue drew the interest of the Environment Protection Agency, which, in order to verify the public accusation of “Madneuli”, took water samples 100 meters above and 500 meters below the estuaries of rivers Mashavera and Kazretula in May 2010. Laboratory analyses showed that the level of water pollution is very low before the joining of the two rivers, while below the estuaries, it exceeds allowable norms.
“Mashavera has been so polluted during these several days that people feel indignant. They can neither water, nor pulverize their vineyards. People have doubled their complaints recently, because they are frightened by the sight and contamination level of the river,” said Bolnisi resident Nugzar Kobakhidze.
According to the information supplied by the Agency, the river water contains high levels of various heavy metals: copper, zinc, manganese and iron. In comparison to previous years, their quantity is 4 times higher than the permissible norm. According to specialists, the only way for the metals to penetrate the river is through the activities of JSC “Madneuli,” and, consequently, the residents’ accusations are fair. Due to increased seasonal rainfall, the “Madneuli” quarry is washed out, and the contaminated water flows into the river Kazretula, which then goes on to pollute Mashavera.
“Until now, we have been speculating, that chemicals of this quantity could infiltrate the river only from “Madneuli”, though we did not possess any facts confirming our opinion, except for the water samples containing high concentrations of harmful chemicals,” says Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN) coordinator in Bolnisi, Giorgi Demurashvili.
Joint-stock company “Madneuli” refuses the accusations of river pollution. According to the representatives of the company, water is no longer pumped out of the quarry, and thus, the contamination of the river Kazretula with this water is ruled out. The head of the health, labor and ecology service of the plant, Zaza Jijeishvili says the several days’ pollution of the river constituted an intentional pre-election action.
“The Environmental Inspection did not find anything alarming at the plant. As for the river pollution, two incidents like this have occurred previously. Once, someone poured chlorine into the water to catch fish and was fined for it by the Environmental Inspection. The second incident was an intentional attempt of pre-election sabotage, and the plant was not connected to either of these incidents anyhow,” states Jijeishvili.
Who or what is to blame for river pollution? Until the fact is established and the problem alleviated, village residents continue to use the contaminated water for their agricultural needs anyway. Thus, the heavy metals in the agricultural products present a problem not only for the villagers, but for city residents as well, since the produce form the village is sold at city markets.
Professor Peter Feliks-kheningsen of the Justus Liebig University Giessen in Germany delivered a speech regarding the ecological basin of the river Mashavera at the Safety Commission meeting at the National Academy of Sciences. According to Mr. Feliks-kheningsen, the danger is very serious. Peter Feliks-kheningsen made this statement before the elections reached an active phase. The river pollution manifests itself as a chain reaction through the agricultural crops raised on this territory. The heavy metals infiltrating the human organism are very dangerous,” said the German professor.
Despite the clear confirmation of the pollution of the rivers by laboratory analyses, and statements of experts, the source of the contamination and a solution of the issue have not been identified. Consequently, local residents continue to use the water from the river Mashavera as usual, and supply city markets with products saturated with copper, zinc, manganese and iron.