The Plague of Plastic

You can see it everywhere in Georgia. Plastic: bottles, bags, bowls, and trays. These things litter the streets, rivers, the beaches, and plants. It amazed me the first few weeks that I was here. I had never seen so much trash and plastic strewn about a place before. I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing some random pile of crap. I thought it was odd considering how proud Georgians are of their country and the natural beauty of the landscape. They have a right to be proud. Between the mountains and seaside there are some amazing scenes of nature. It just doesn’t seem to be a priority to take care of this amazing natural resource.

Where does all of this litter come from? Every transaction of exchanging goods for money includes a plastic bag. You buy a sweater at the market, you get a bag. You buy cookies at the bakery, you get a bag. You buy some Katchapuri for lunch, you get a bag. Plastic bags come in all sizes, colors, and thicknesses. Every situation is therefore covered by the perfect plastic bag. Perhaps this wouldn’t be a problem if Georgians bought all their groceries and household items at the same place. There is no Baker’s or Sentry grocery store in Poti. Instead, you go to one woman for potatoes another for garlic and yet another for some apples. Then you get oil and chicken at different place. Each place gives you at least one bag but sometimes more. In one afternoon, our household averages four bags. There are only three of us living here! The other problem is that you buy small quantities more often. Georgians do not stock up on Groceries or other items. They just buy it when they need it. This means more bags each month. These bags get thrown away, of course.

Garbage in general does not seem to be taken care of in the same way. There isn’t a set day for taking the garbage out. A truck comes by every week, sometimes it’s Monday, sometimes it Friday, sometimes it’s both. There are also garbage cans on the streets. The wind blows all the garbage out, though. People then just drop trash on the ground rather than the bins. I don’t know what the land fills are like, but they don’t seem to be contained in anyway.

Now enter into the equation a young eco-conscious American. I carry a reusable bag with me everywhere, including across the globe to Georgia. When I go shopping, I’m always telling people that I do not want a bag. Most don’t believe that they are understanding me right and give me a bag anyway. Some just laugh at me when I bring out my brightly colored bag (Thanks Kellie!) I’ve slowly in three months been able to teach a couple of the shops I go to on a regular basis that I do not want another plastic bag. Getting other Georgians to follow the trend has been another story all together. Therefore, if you are planning on coming to Georgia, please bring a reusable bag! We could do so much to help their awareness of their own polluting habits just by setting a good example. (If you want to do Teach and Learn with Georgia, email me any questions. I have extra resources that can help you understand the program and benefits!)

I feel like I’m being smothered by plastic here. I give credit for Georgians being resourceful and reusing many items. I just can’t figure out why they can’t find a solution for the overwhelming amount of plastic being used. Oh Georiga, you can do so much better!

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