Published: 13 Jul 2017 | By Joyce Man
Jugheli and others v Georgia
Case No. 38342/05
Judgment date: 13 July 2017
The three applicants lived in Tbilisi in close proximity to a thermal power plant. The plant was constructed in 1911 and started operating in 1939. Several accidents occurred during its lifetime and experts found that it had not been repaired between 1986 and 1996. It was privatised in 2000 and ceased operation the following year. Although City Hall had requested the plant install chimney filters, it never did.
The applicants had experienced problems with noise and pollution from living close to the plant as early as the 1990s, when an explosion seriously damaged their apartment building. The applicants and other residents brought action against the plant for environmental damage in 2000. Although they reached a friendly settlement, it was never enforced.
The Georgian Forensic Medical Examination Centre found that protracted exposure to sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitric oxide and nitrous oxide levels, black dust, noise and electromagnetic pollution had impacted the health of two applicants negatively (the third, for unstated reasons, had not been included in the examination).
Although the Georgian Supreme Court ordered the operators, City Hall and Ministry of the Environment to pay GEL 7,000 (€2,938) to two of the applicants and a monthly payment to one, it rejected their complaint regarding electromagnetic and air pollution. It also did not order measures which would have reduced future harm, such as calling on the plant to install filters. The applicants were represented by EHRAC and the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association.