|Making Tbilisi Greener|
|May 17, 2011|
Written by Nina Burjanadze
The FINANCIAL -- According to the latest data of the Ecology and Greenery Department of Tbilisi City Hall there is 450,000 hectares of green area in the capital. “The Ecology and Greenery Department of Tbilisi City Hall was established 2 years ago. 45 hectares of green territories have been added to the area of the capital since that time,” said Giorgi Korkashvili, Director of the Department.
“The surrounding areas of Tbilisi Sea and the former Gldani rubbish yard are under our patronage,” Mr. Korkashvili said. “We have started to make the territories greener. As for the rubbish yard itself, there is need for more complex works there. This year we will start to change the ground within this territory, after which it will be ready for planting trees. We will start the planting process by the beginning of next year. Of course it’s not as though there will suddenly be an oasis in one year. The place needs some time to recover. The resulting pleasant environment and fresh air will be beneficial not only for the people who live in the Gldani district but also for the whole capital.
In regards to the aesthetic side of the city, we have a very important project on at the moment - reconstruction of the Jansug Khakhidze square, which occupies 15,000 square metres. In previous years this square has always proved to be one of the favourite leisure places of citizens.
Not just reconstruction of big parks but also restoration of small squares is a target activity of our department. We have built and reconstructed plenty of squares around the city. Almost 80% of recently reconstructed squares are in the suburbs of Tbilisi . The fact that the city’s residents spend their time enjoying these parks is testament to the success and importance of our works.
Q. What is the budget of the Ecology and Greenery Department of Tbilisi City Hall?
A. Our entire budget for this year is about 12 million GEL, which includes all activities implemented by our department. This is not only the purchase of saplings and planting of greenery, but also processes of upkeep like watering, the putting down of manure etc.
Q. How many private partner companies do you have at the moment?
A. We have nearly 85 partner companies, including green service, green house, where more than 1,000 individuals are employed. Today these companies are in charge of making all the squares within the city greener.
Q. Does your department employ socially vulnerable people?
A. Of course the municipality gets plenty of applications from socially vulnerable people. We try to employ as many as we can. However we have to be able to ensure that the person can manage the work our project requires. Not everyone can handle such strenuous physical work.
We have a very successful partnership with the Centre of Vocational Training as well. Last year they sent us highly qualified staff. Today these people are employed in many companies. We must note that we constantly need recruitment of new personnel, because of the constant enlargement of green territories within the city.
We are putting an accent on evergreen trees, such as pine trees, cypress and fir trees, but we also plant trees such as lime trees, maple, acacia and many other species. We are continuing the project Plant a Tree, Make Tbilisi Green, but we have slightly changed the routine of the project.
Last year people where able to choose locations for planting according to their wish. That could cause problems for urban development in the city. As it’s impossible to plant trees wherever you want, this year they have the opportunity to plant saplings in territories we choose, like the areas of Khudadovi Forest, Tbilisi Sea etc. As the results show participation in the project has become a favourite activity of the population.
A. Our department is open to any interested persons who want to consult us. First of all when we make projects like this we discuss the map of the city so as not to encroach on somebody’s private land. That’s why we put an accent on land that is under the patronage of City Hall. After finding the relevant piece of land a person can choose the species they want to plant and we will provide them with all the facilities necessary for the planting works.
When private persons or companies appeal to us, we always prefer to offer them our territories, because we then continue the care of the saplings totally at our expense.
Q. What are the approximate expenses of the reconstruction of one of the city’s squares?
A. It’s hard to state an exact amount because we have to define which works have to be done in each specific case. If we want to lay grass, the price for one square metre is about 9.60 USD. For each flower we plant, we pay 0.35 USD, though we have to mention that we plant millions of flowers all over the city. So it’s really very hard to list the exact reconstruction expenses for each square.
A. Usually we announce tenders. Our department displays a list specific to the project regarding which kinds of saplings we need. The small private companies provide us with their products in the conditions we ask for. The average size of a sapling we acquire is usually 1.5-2 metres in height. As for the retail price we pay about 15-20 USD per tree.
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