Vedi, Ararat – Only one percent of the Earth’s water is fresh and suitable for human use and consumption. Moreover, 90 percent of bottled water and 83 percent of tap water people consume across the globe contain plastic particles. The heavy burden of plastic pollution, the impact of climate change, the competing demand for fresh water, and the large water footprint of human activity made 2017 a year of global water stress.

On June 5, the USAID funded Participatory Utilization and Resource Efficiency of Water (PURE Water) project, and the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company Armenia celebrated the World Environment Day with nine partner communities from Ararat and Armavir. The public celebration in Vedi was aimed at increasing public awareness of the importance of efficient management of the depleting groundwater resources in the Ararat Valley and to promote behavioral change among local water users.

The Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission in Yerevan, Deputy Governor of Ararat province, Mayor of Vedi, and representatives of Coca-Cola HBC Armenia and PURE Water project greeted the participants.

“Today, as we celebrate the World Environment Day, it is encouraging to see such enthusiasm and commitment to using and managing Armenia’s water resources more sustainably. The Ararat Valley’s scarce yet valuable water supply demands our ongoing attention, and the U.S. Government will continue to support Armenia’s efforts to use this precious resource efficiently,” Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission, Rafik Mansour noted in his opening remarks.

About 500 local residents, including children and youth, art school students, heads of communities, representatives of local governments and partner organizations were in attendance. The community event featured environment related photo and painting exhibitions, award ceremonies, dance and musical performances by local talents, and theatrical plays.

The event was one of the regional initiatives of PURE Water and the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company Armenia this year as part of the “Water is Life: Every Drop Matters” campaign. Since the launch of the campaign in March 2018, over 1,200 residents of PURE Water’s twelve partner communities in Ararat and Armavir have participated in various events and public discussions, learning about the importance of efficient management of Armenia’s water resources.

More than anywhere in the country, Armenia’s key agricultural hub and breadbasket, the Ararat Valley, is facing a severe depletion of groundwater reserves. Today, over 30 communities and 260,000 Armenians have limited access to drinking and irrigation water.

PURE Water promotes responsible water management in the Ararat Valley through public awareness, behavior change of water consumers, and increased civic participation. The project is implemented by the Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development, together with the Country Water Partnership and the Yerevan State University Environmental Law Resource Center.

March 13, 2018, Visit to Diyarbakir, Turkey, within the framework of the CLEAN DIALOGUE: Exchange of Best Practices in Plastic Waste Management between Armenia and Turkey CSOs and Practitioners

On March 13, 2018 UFSD representatives organized a preparatory trip to Diyarbakir, Turkey. The purpose of the trip was to understand overall situation with plastic waste separation and recycling in Turkey and to discuss with the counterparts from Turkey the organization of the upcoming workshop in Diyarbakir, as well as involvement of the partner and experts from Turkey in different phases of the project. UFSD representatives visited plastic waste separation company Cevsan, one of the plastic waste separation companies in Diyarbakir having a license from the government to collect plastic waste from one of the districts of the city. Next meeting was organized on programmatic issues. The Union of Diyarbakir Young Businessmen, representatives of Diyarbakir chamber of commerce, businessmen and environmentalists participated in the meeting. UFSD representatives briefly presented the project objectives and expected results. Organizational details were agreed on with the Union of Diyarbakir Young Businessmen. An environmental expert from Turkey Abbas Buyuktash was identified who will prepare and present the situation and best practices of waste recycling in Turkey and will work on the Turkey section of the project best practice booklet. Board representatives of the Chamber of Commerce made commitments to invite relevant businesses during the workshops in Turkey and Armenia. UFSD representatives also visited a recycling plant in Diyarbakir and saw the process of production of new goods. The model of mixture of sand and plastic for production of new goods (which is going to be piloted in Kapan, Armenia) is not widespread in Turkey. Experts and businessmen from Turkey mentioned only Marash and Adana, that use similar technology. The head of the recycling company also was willing to participate in the workshops within the project.