Photo: Vladimir Valishvili/UNDP

Georgia moves forward to introducing an advanced air quality monitoring system, based on the indicative measurement standards adopted in the European Union (EU) member states.

An automated monitoring network was set up in the capital city of Tbilisi and three other cities – Batumi, Kutaisi and Rustavi. Its stations examine air quality round-the-clock and collect data on atmospheric air pollutants. In addition, air samples on major pollutants are collected quarterly in 25 municipalities. Air quality information is publicly available on the website www.air.gov.ge.

Much of this success draws on the assistance provided by the government of Sweden and UNDP to the National Environment Agency (NEA) of Georgia’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture.

The three-year initiative helped NEA strengthen its institutional capacities and introduce effective tools and mechanisms in the field of air quality monitoring. It was implemented by UNDP with US$235,000 made available by the government of Sweden under its wider support for Georgia’s governance sector.    

On 18 November, representatives of the Government, civil society, academic institutions and international organizations summarized the results of this assistance.

“It is critically important to collect reliable data on air quality in cities and urban centres. The new air quality monitoring system is already delivering results, enabling Government to plan and take steps that will lead to improving air quality,” said Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture Nino Tandilashvili.  

“Wellbeing is not just income and economic growth. It is also being able to breathe clean air, drink clean water and live in a healthy environment. Sweden is assisting Georgia to introduce higher environmental standards and build effective systems of environmental monitoring,” said Head of Development Cooperation and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Sweden to Georgia Erik Illes.

“Air pollution is one of the biggest threats to human health faced by the world cities and Georgia is no exception. Effective measurement and monitoring are vital to identify sources of pollution and improve air quality,” said UNDP Head in Georgia Nick Beresford.

With Sweden and UNDP support, NEA introduced up-to-date software for validating air quality data and kicked off the development of a new system for air quality modelling. Furthermore, NEA developed data verification and reporting guidelines, compiled software manuals and trained technicians in air modelling and reporting.

Previously, UNDP and Sweden assisted NEA to establish air quality monitoring standards and develop technical maintenance guidelines in line with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.

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