As the Soviet Union broke down, so did Akhali Samgori. The 1,850 residents lack access to safe drinking water and most of them drink and cook with bottled water - at least those who can afford it. Then, there is the smell - the prickly, acrid, stinging odour that lingers in the air.
In 2011 an area approximately three kilometres away from the village was turned into a waste disposal facility and since then walking, playing, hanging out outside has become nasty. There is no proper fence around it.
“The site polluted the village,” explains Lia, 76, a retired civil servant whose house is further away from the site. “When the wind blows the smell reaches and surrounds [it]. There should be a pit and a high fence, so that it could hold the waste when it’s windy. The fence is symbolic, it just prevents the cattle from venturing into it.”
However a tall fence can’t do anything against the smell. The villagers’ repeated pleas to move the landfill further away fell onto the deaf ears - politicians would dispense promises ahead of elections only to disappear after the vote.