Bulgaria's Second-Biggest City Rescues Capital from Garbage Woes
Sofia municipal councilors approved the decision for transporting a total of 100,000 tons of garbage collected from the capital at a waste depot in the city of Plovdiv, located in Southern Bulgaria.
The municipality of Plovdiv has agreed 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.
The towns of Harmanli and Lovech 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 14 per ton in exchange for the garbage. The money 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.
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 gargabe problems came after the people, living close to Sofia operational landfill at Suhodol, started staging rallies, demanding the closing of the dumpsite on the western outskirts of Bulgaria's capital over 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.