SMHI contributes to better air quality in Georgia

SMHI and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency have initiated a collaborative project that will lead to improved management of air quality in Georgia. Together they will contribute with knowledge and experience from previous similar projects carried out in the Balkans.

Stad och flod i Georgien
Foto Olivier Tasse, SMHI

Georgia's air quality is affected by heavy traffic, biomass burning, industry and even desert dust. Public interest in air quality has increased in the country in recent years. Since Georgia has applied for European Union membership, many EU-criteria regarding air quality measurement, reporting, data dissemination and action plan, need to be addressed among others.

SMHI and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency are now initiating the feasibility study for a potential air quality project in Georgia, in collaboration with the country's Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency. The feasibility study is funded by SIDA. The aim is to examine possible needs and later shape the content for a multi-annual bilateral project on air quality management and skills development within the Georgian authorities.

Previous experience of similar projects

At the beginning of June, a study visit was carried out in Georgia, including representatives from SMHI and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. Through the Swedish Embassy in Georgia, SIDA has a long relationship with the Ministry of the Environment in Georgia and has previously financed several air quality measuring stations. Discussions are now continuing to identify how the various stakeholders can contribute meeting the needs in Georgia while creating synergies with other ongoing international projects.

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and SMHI have collaborated on several international air quality projects, mainly in the Western Balkans. The fact that we now have an opportunity to work together in Georgia is good for developing and perfecting our own work, while at the same time taking an important step forward for better air quality in Georgia. The country has recently applied for EU membership, and it is important for Sweden to support Georgia in that process, says Kristian Silver, project manager, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.