Bulgarian mayors unite for clean air
The mayors want to work with the national government because many EU funds have stalled this year
Today are the mayors of the four largest cities in Bulgaria Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas Meeting with the Minister for Environment and Water, Borislav Sandowto discuss a new investment mechanism to improve air quality. The meeting was initiated by the four mayors to help them apply for funding through specific community projects.
Minister Sandov stated that the new investment mechanism will be completed when the Bulgarian budget has passed the parliament.
He also stated that he will prioritize some areas. One is projects for substitute fossil fuel heater systems in public buildings such as schools and cultural institutions with sustainable alternatives. another is greening general rooms between apartment buildings and a third buy electric cleaning devices for public spaces.
All four mayors stated that they have projects ready and waiting for funding to get going. This is all the more true in 2022, as financial aid is not yet available through the EUs Ready to use program environment for the period 2022-2027 and through the recovery plan for Europe.
Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova stated that the city is ready to launch an initiative to green 160 public spaces in residential areas. These are the so-calleddirt–zones‘, small green spaces between apartment buildings where citizens park their cars, making them permanently muddy.
The “Mud Zones” are a permanent source of fine particles matter – a strong pollutant in the city. Last year local authorities targeted 57 “mud zones” through the municipal budget.
A drop in pollution across the board
In the past year there have been some landmark developments regarding air quality in Bulgaria. One of them was the fact that a citizen-led organization won a court case against Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria. The court case involved dangerous amounts air environmental pollution and it dragged on 11 years until Highest court from cassation.
The second was another court case in a similar vein, this time against city authorities in the capital Sofia. After local authorities lost the case in the regional court, Mayor Fandakova announced that the city would not appeal the verdict and continue to waste taxpayers’ money. Instead, she accepted the court’s mandate and reversed Sofia’s green policies.
According to all four mayors, quoted by the Bulgarian Telegraph AgencyAir quality has improved in all cities. Sofia, for example, is within particulate matter standards for the third year in a row. According to the mayor, the same applies to Burgas dimitar Nikolov. Varnaitself, has been within the prescribed standards since 2014.
The Mayor of Plovdiv, Zdravko Dimitrov, on the other hand, explained that the city plans to address “mud zones.” It has already localized all problem areas and covers around 160,000 square meters.