The River Kura pollution

The most polluted rivers in Georgia are the Kura, Mashavera, Kvirila and Rioni. Because of financial and economical difficulties, the data from surface water monitoring has been very poor over the last 16 years. In most of these rivers, concentrations of phenols, hydrocarbons, copper, manganese, zinc and nitrogen are considerably higher than the national and international standards. The major sources of pollution are transport, the chemical industry and the energy sector. The largest polluter of surface water is municipal wastewater and oil products.

The River Kura passes large towns and also near the TRACECA route; that is why the Kura is polluted to such a high level. For example, processing the data for the Kura's water usage, namely water abstraction and water discharges into the Kura, for 1999-2001 shows that in 1999 the amount of water released into the rivers unpurified was 30%, but by 2001 the amount had reached 90%. In addition, the extent of contamination on the Mtkvari River has also become clear, and thus the importance of analyzing the current chemical-ecological state of the Mtkvari (Buachidze et al., 2002). Analysis of the data from 1997-2001 on the River Mtkvari revealed an increased amount of harmful substances - chlorines, sulfates and oil products - and a decreasing amount of organic substances.

It is also interesting to see how much the River Kura was polluted when it passed Tbilisi. The analysis of the data from February and March 2002, obtained for a number of locations along the River Kura in Tbilisi and for places situated above and about 1.5 km below Tbilisi, has shown that as the river passes through Tbilisi there are increases in the concentrations of chlorines (by 82.2%), sulphates (97%), hydrocarbons (38%), nitrates (5.4%) and nitrites (70.8%), which indicates that there was increased anthropogenic loading on the River Kura. Similarly, analysis of the data from the

Mtkvari shows that the intensity of smell increased by fourfold and water transparency deteriorated by sevenfold, which indicate that pollution in Tbilisi is extremely dangerous (Buachidze et al., 2002).

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