Statement by Ministry of Environment
Friday, September 24A substantial amount of inert building materials, such as rock and sand, have already been extracted from the coastal rivers of Abkhazia, Georgia and exported to the Russian Federation. This was for the development of the necessary infrastructure for Sochi 2014 Olympic Games and if the situation continues to develop in this course in the coming years, the unique ecosystem of the Black Sea coastline will no longer be subjected to rehabilitation.
This information is based on the statements that were made several times by official representatives of the Government of Russian Federation as well as relevant international organizations.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia has called upon the international community and relevant international organizations repeatedly to pay due attention to the activities damaging the coastal ecosystem of Abkhazia, Georgia.
Abkhazian beaches went through an intensive restoration and rehabilitation processes during 1982-1990. These measures were carried out in order to maintain the Abkhazian natural environment in the times when inert materials were not extracted from the coast. And today, when no coastal defensive measures have been conducted since the 1990s, the extraction of inert materials is leading to the enhanced destabilization process of the coasts.
Aside from the legal aspects of the case, the extraction of inert materials from the river-beds of Abkhazia will cause the washing-off of the coastal zone and degradation of the beaches, the creation of problematic areas and the aggravation of existing ones. Examples of such damage can be found not only in Abkhazia, but also in other parts of the globe.
Although Abkhazia is distinguished by its unique nature, the most important natural resource in this region is the coastal line with its beautiful beaches. Therefore, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in his speech delivered at the UN General Assembly expressed his concern with regard to the deterioration of the environment on the occupied territory of Abkhazia. It is due to the natural resources extraction from the coastal zone for the construction purposes of the Olympic Games in Sochi and the President appealed the partners of Georgia to assist in monitoring of the situation.
International Olympic Games should facilitate peace and friendship amongst nations without bringing irreversible environmental damage.