This year, the Riga municipality will devote more resources to developing the city's green infrastructure by planting more trees, maintaining existing green spaces, renovating park paths, installing benches and reducing air pollution. The municipality will also build new and improve existing public toilets, improve recreation areas and beaches, and make housing more accessible for the convenience of residents and visitors of the capital.
"This year we are greening the city significantly, as trees, greenery, parks and urban forests provide a significant benefit to the citizens of Riga, both in terms of air quality and by protecting the city from the effects of heat and heavy rains. By improving parks and recreation areas in neighbourhoods, we are making Riga a better and more comfortable place to live. This year we are also significantly reducing the queues for municipal flats and promoting energy efficiency and management quality," said Selīna Vancāne, the Chairperson of the Housing and Environment Committee of the Riga City Council.
Hundreds of new trees and boosting biodiversity
The Riga municipality plans to plant a record number of trees in street greenery this year - around 1000 new trees in the capital. This spring, the Housing and Environment Department of the Riga City Council will plant more than 500 trees in various neighbourhoods and renew the city's greenery. Riga will be greener!
Linden, ash tree, elm, lilac, larch, rowan, oak, maple, poplar, ginkgo and ornamental apple trees will be planted in the city centre and other neighbourhoods. In the capital, tree planting also takes place during street renovation and other construction projects, as well as in parks and squares by the municipal company "Rīgas meži", so the total number of trees planted in the capital will be significantly higher.
This year, it is also planned to renew street planting and tree planting in an area of 3,000 square metres, build footpaths in Ēbelmuiža Park and renew footpaths in other parks and squares in an area of 1,000 square metres, as well as build a children's playground in Kanālmala greenery
To take care of biodiversity, this year the municipality will create a road connection from Jaunciems gatve to the nature reserve "Jaunciems", mow 137 hectares of meadows and reeds and continue to reduce the spread of invasive alien species such as the spindly cornea, curled rose, Canada goldenrod, tartary lettuce, and hogweed.
Improved beaches, new toilets and renovation of fountains
This year, infrastructure improvements on Riga's beaches and recreational areas will continue. It is planned to install eight new environmental objects in the bathing areas, to renew the volleyball court surface in the recreation area of the Hapaka ditch near Kleistu Street, to improve the Velnezers active recreation area by installing sunbeds, benches, waste bins and changing cabins, as well as to install landscaping elements in the recreation area by the Daugava River on Zirņu sala and in the Bolderāja quarry on Kleistu Street - waste bins, double-sided beach benches and sunbeds.
It is also planned to start implementing a construction project for a recreation area at Jugla Lake in Braila Street and to completely renovate the lifeguard station at the Vakarbuļļi swimming area.
In 2023, ten additional public toilets will be installed to ensure environmental accessibility, 18 existing public toilets will have their safety requirements improved and 45 additional bio-toilets will be installed in parks during the summer period.
Continuing the restoration of fountains in the capital, this year it is planned to replace the waterproofing of the paddling pool "Lutausis" in Grīziņkalns Park and to start the development of a project for the restoration of the fountain "Sumpurnis, barenīte un mātesmeita" in Kronvalds Park.
To reduce the risk of flooding, this year it is planned to rehabilitate about 1,470 metres of drainage ditches and maintain about 18 hectares of land adjacent to drainage ditches.
Let's reduce air pollution
Riga is gradually planning to switch to a more environmentally friendly heating system, which is why new rules on the types of heating allowed in different neighbourhoods of the capital are to be adopted this year. Existing air monitoring stations will also be upgraded and an education campaign on the impact of air pollution on society is planned.
The Riga Energy Agency has been allocated 4 million euros this year for the Carbon dioxide (CO2) emission reduction programme, which will provide for major improvements in municipal buildings, including the installation of solar panels and energy efficiency measures, a switch to renewable energy sources and other activities.
Let's sort waste
The Riga municipality has taken various measures to promote sorting in recent years and the number of containers for light packaging, glass and biodegradable waste has increased significantly in the capital.
Work will continue this year on building sorted waste collection sites, expanding the network of public sorting points and reviewing the network of mobile hazardous waste collection points.
This year, Riga will also see an increase in the sorting of textiles through new sorting containers, the launch of a project to reduce the use of disposable dishes and glasses, and the resumption of biological waste sorting in cemeteries as the weather warms up. Work is underway to introduce a deposit container system at events in Riga.
Housing will become more affordable and safer
This year, it is planned to renovate at least 90 municipally owned apartments, install smoke detectors in 1140 apartments with wood heating and renovate the heating system by installing heat pumps in seven apartments.
It is also planned to start design works for the sustainable renovation of the building at 11 Ziepju Street, to adapt 49 Ūnijas Street to accommodate Ukrainian civilians, and to continue work on the renovation of buildings at 25a Prūšu Street, 1 Dolomīta Street and 1 -k10 Lielupes Street.
Improving environmental accessibility in Riga cemeteries
In 2023, the municipality plans to ensure environmental accessibility to the administrative building of I Meža Cemetery, the chapel of I Meža Cemetery and the administrative building of the Cemetery Administration in 1A Aizsaules Street.
This year it is also planned to start design works for a new columbarium in I Meža cemetery, digitisation of Ziepniekkalns, Rainis and Kapsils cemeteries and installation of ten memorial stones (statues) for the Latvian War Order cavaliers in II Meža cemetery.
Information was prepared by: Mārtiņš Vilemsons, Project Coordinator at External Communication Division of Riga City Council Communication Department, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org