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Population Requests to Clean Area of Former Warehouse of Pesticides

26.01.2010
Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti

Residents of the village of Sakobo in Sighnaghi district request to clean the territory of former warehouse of pesticides. Within the grant of the Dutch international organization outdated pesticides were withdrawn from the warehouse; part of the territory has turned into swamp. Locals state the situation is particularly unbearable in summer when the water stinks in the channels. During rains, the water flows into Alazani irrigation channel from the swamp.

Warehouse of poisons was built in Sakobo 25 years ago. Since 1994 the warehouse has not been protected and pesticides were scattered in the area for 14 years. Territory of the former warehouse is occupies almost 3 hectares and it is several meters away from the residential buildings.

“We did not have any problems before the warehouse was closed and poisons were protected according to the rules. But everything has been robbed during last 15 years. The situation is unbearable particularly for the people living close to the warehouse. Those who worked as watchmen in the warehouse, have died,” said resident of Sakobo Ioseb Orvelashvili.

According to Orvelashvili, several disabled children were born in Sakobo recently. Part of population connects it with the polluted environment.

Lali Dudaeva, resident of Sakobo: “We live ten meters away from the warehouse. Our child was born disabled. During pregnancy his mother was often ill; she was permanently poisoned and doctors claim intoxications caused other complications too. We have nowhere to go, or otherwise we had left the village long before. In windy day and in summer it is difficult to stay in the yard even for 5 minutes. There is horrible smell in the area. The territory is not surrounded and cattle eat grass on the field. They also drink polluted water.”

Tina Tsiklauri, specialist of Kakheti regional department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, also confirms that the situation in the territory of former warehouse is terrible.

“More than 1 000 tones of poisons were stored in this warehouse: grounded and moistable sulfur, Bethanil, petrol-acid, and even Dioxin. During years all these poisons were scattered in the area. The situation worsened after part of poisons was burnt as a result of the fire in the warehouse.

“In the rain, the poisons were melting and leaking into the channels and sitches; from there they flew into the Alazani irrigation channel and finally they got into the Alazani River. The water was being polluted for 10 years and it still continues because during rain the polluted water gets out of the channel and flows into stream-channels. Thousands of hectares of land are irrigated from Alazani channel. Peasants irrigate their vine-yards and fruit-gardens from the channel. Toxicologist was invited to Sakobo several times. Many people complained about various diseases with doctor; particularly they have problems of breathing. Allergic diseases are also spread. Third child of the mother of two children, who lives 7 meters away from the warehouse, was still-born. The fourth child died before birth and the next was born disabled,” said Tina Tsiklauri.

In 2008, in Kakheti region, project to reduce the risk-factors from outdated pesticides was implemented which was funded by Dutch international organization. The project aimed to take the pesticides from the former warehouse of the poisons and to cut one-meter-high land in the area. However, only sacks full of poisons were withdrawn and unpacked poisons are still scattered in the area.

Khatuna Akhalaia, project coordinator: “Within the project, 222 sacks of pesticides were withdrawn from Kakheti region. Among them, we withdrew poisons from the warehouse in Sakobo village which polluted the area. It was done based on the inventory data and maybe it was not complete information.”

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