Urban air pollution is one of Georgia’s most pressing public health issues. As demonstrated by the United Nations Environmental Programme, it shortens the life of urban citizens in Georgia with more than 12 months. Studies reveal that in Tbilisi air pollution also leads to a heightened number of crippling cardiovascular diseases and a significantly increased number of chronic allergies such as bronchial asthma, dermatitis and others, especially among children between 12 and 19 years of age.
The number one cause for Georgia’s heightened air pollution is road traffic, which accounts for 80% of all air pollution. A lot of cars in Georgia are antiquated and badly maintained. This leads to a significant amount of extra pressure on air quality levels, particularly in densely populated urban areas like Tbilisi.
Low public awareness is another important factor that leads to increased pollution. For example, approximately 85% of automobilists do not know that they themselves are able to reduce fuel consumption by 25-30 % by simply changing their driving style. Additionally, there is a lack of education programs and advocacy campaigns to raise awareness about air quality issues.
To make Georgia’s air cleaner and healthier, EASST’s Georgian partner the Partnership for Road Safety (PfRS), with Ecovision and Elva Community Engagement are launching an innovative citizen engagement project titled “Clean Air for Georgia”, with support of the East West Management Institute and USAID.
The project will track air quality levels throughout Georgia with the use of 40 “Air Quality Eggs”, an innovative air quality monitoring mechanism. The results will be automatically analyzed and visualized by Elva’s online portal. This will allow citizens throughout Georgia to track air quality levels in their area, and compare them with other regions in Georgia.
Additionally, a comprehensive advocacy campaign to increase awareness on air quality levels with the general public will be organized. To this end, PfRS will host a TV programme “Eco Transport”. The show will focus on the use of alternative means of transportation, as well as the advantages of increasing fuel efficiency by improving consumer cars and driving styles. Ecovision will produce a TV show for children designed to make them more aware of the importance of clean air. Both shows will be broadcasted on Georgian Public Broadcaster.
Besides the two TV shows, several online and offline advocacy events will be organised. For example, a “Car-Free Day” will be organised with the purpose of encouraging Georgians to spend an entire day without a car. Furthermore, a series of policy recommendations to make Georgia’s air cleaner will be drafted and presented to policy makers, the business community and other relevant stakeholders.
This project is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of the implementing organisations and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.