Bulgaria's Plovdiv Takes Sofia's Waste with Provision
A total of 100,000 tons of garbage collected from the capital Sofia will be deposited at a landfill near the city of Plovdiv, per the Thursday approval by the municipal councilors.
44 councilors voted for the proposal of Mayor, Slavcho Atanassov, one was against and one abstained.
The councilors from Bulgaria's second largest city, however, added a condition to their approval - Atanassov can sign the contract for the disposal of the Sofia waste only after the Council of Ministers provides at least BGN 25 M for Plovdiv's infrastructure.
Plovdiv's mayor agreed last month to lend a hand to the capital in its attempts to deal with its ongoing garbage issues by storing and processing part of the 250 000 tons of baled waste that it currently has. Other towns are expected to follow suit and help the government avoid the EUR 50 000 fine that Brussels has threatened to impose.
The government will pay the municipality of Plovdiv close to BGN 30 M in exchange for the garbage, which will be used to construct the transport site Modar-Tsarevets, clean the banks of the Maritsa river and recultivate the waste depot at Tsalapitsa, which will significantly increase its capacity.
Earlier in the week the citizens of two villages near the town of Plovdiv, Southern Bulgaria, said they will form a live chain to stop the deposition of Sofia garbage.
"Even now one can feel the stink a kilometer away from the dump site, while the citizens of Orizare and Kadievo villages suffer from fits of asthma, lung diseases and skin rashes," said Krassimir Mollov, chair of the initiative committee.
The committee and the Green party plan to send a petition to the European Parliament, demanding a cancellation of the government's decision for depositing 100,000 tons of garbage at the depot and its closure.
Finding a solution to Sofia ongoing waste problems was a politically sensitive issue in the months before the parliamentary elections in the summer, which mayor of the capital Boyko Borisov won by a large margin.
The previous Socialist-led government officially declared a state of emergency in Sofia at the beginning of April over lack of adequate waste removal, saying that the garbage problems threatened national security and citing health and environmental concerns.
The then opposition party of Sofia mayor GERB, which won the elections by a large margin and formed a government, dismissed this as pre-election muscle pumping.
The residents close to Sofia operational landfill at Suhodol have repeatedly staged rallies, demanding the closing of the dumpsite on the western outskirts of Bulgaria's capital, citing health and environmental concerns.
The dumpsite was reopened at the beginning of December 2007 after the environment ministry backed the controversial option to prevent a looming garbage crisis in the capital.
Suhodol residents forced Sofia authorities to introduce crisis management in July 2005 after blockading the landfill. The protests left the streets in the capital littered with garbage, posing a serious risk to human health and the environment.