Bulgaria's 7 Rila Lakes Unaffected by Increased Tourist Influx - Min
The increasing number of visitors poses no threat for biodiversity and water in the region of the Seven Rila Lakes, according to an annual monitoring report of Bulgaria's Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW).
According to the report, as cited by the Bulgarian National Television (BNT), the MoEW is willing to discuss the proposal for restricting the numbers of tourists visiting the lakes put forth by the Green Initiatives Association.
The introduction of a restricted access regime, however, requires the organization of a wide-ranging public discussion, according to BNT.
The MoEW describes as "superficial" claims of environmental organizations that the lakes have grown swampy due to the large number of tourists.
According to specialists, the presence of algae in some of the lakes, such as Dolnoto Ezero (the Lower Lake) and Ribnoto Ezero (the Fish Lake), is an absolutely normal occurrence.
"The water temperature of the lakes keeps increasing. This is a global problem and it stimulates to a certain extent algae growth," Dimitar Stoev head of the Protected Areas Department at the MoeW, tells BNT.
According to experts at the Rila National Park, the water of the Seven Rila Lakes is in very good condition and it meets EU drinking water standards.
Stefan Kirilov, Director of the Rila National Park, insists that the cirque is not polluted, adding that employees and experts at the Rila National Park go around the cirque on a daily basis.
According to the MoEW, the increase in tourist numbers from 30 000 to 100 000 over the past few years as a result of the new lift in the area only affects tourism infrastructure.
The MoEW informs that funds are yet to be earmarked for a project envisaging the reinforcement of eco-trails leading to the lakes.
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