Large-scale river cleaning works initiated by Tbilisi City Hall and Georgia’s Interior Ministry will begin on 21 February, InterPressNews reported.
The River Mtkvari, known as the Kura in Turkish and Kur in Azerbaijani, which passes through Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, will be be cleaned with specialised equipment to remove accumulated silt and debris. Trees which are damaging the river’s embankments will be cut down. According to the City Hall, all necessary safety measures will be taken during the process.
Marina Marakova, Deputy Director of the Department of Water Resources at the Ministry of Environment, said in 2016 that the only way to clean the river is to install sewage systems and cleaning facilities in each densely populated district.
One of the main causes of pollution in the Mtkvari is sewage, which currently flows directly into the river through drainage channels, without being treated.
According to Georgian legislation, the fine for polluting rivers is between ₾200 and ₾300 ($75–115).
The Mtkvari’s river basin is the biggest in the South Caucasus, covering northeast Turkey, central and east Georgia, Armenia, most of Azerbaijan, as well as northwest Iran. The length of the river is 1,515 m, with its basin covering an area 198,300 km².
Mtkvari Protection Day has been observed in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia since 2001. The observance was initiated by the international Mtkvari–Aras (also known as Araks and Araz) initiative group in 1999.
The first cleanup of the Mtkvari was held in Georgia in 1907.