EC: Bulgaria is Among the Countries with the Highest Death Rates due to Dirty Air
Bulgaria is one of the countries in the EU with the highest death rate due to dirty air, a report from the European Commission said.
It is noted that air pollution places our country at the forefront of the number of lost years of life. According to the European Environment Agency, air pollution in Bulgaria has led to about 15,200 cases of premature death in 2015. The main sources of air pollution from dust are domestic heating and vehicles.
Despite recent amendments to legislation, Bulgaria has not yet taken practical structural measures to tackle air pollution and to align air quality objectives with key environmental, energy and transport policies, the document says.
Bulgaria has not yet fulfilled its obligations to conserve or restore species and habitats. Establishing effective management of the Natura 2000 network and improving administration in this area is considered as a challenge. Major threats to biodiversity in Bulgaria include the loss of habitats due to urban and infrastructure development, unsustainable agriculture, increased air pollution.
Despite the continued investment in building the necessary infrastructure, supported mainly by EU funding, Bulgaria is still lagging behind the European indicators for urban waste water treatment. Only 26 per cent of these waters are collected, 20.4 percent of the collected amount is subjected to secondary treatment, and 6.7 per cent of the collected waste water is subjected to a deeper treatment. According to the EC, there is a need for an extra two billion euros for the construction of sewage networks and treatment plants.
The Commission notes that Bulgaria has made significant progress in the mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their properties, as well as in the development of "natural capital" reporting systems. However, proper enforcement of nature protection legislation remains challenging, the report said.
Although Bulgaria has adopted good legislation for a fair calculation of the Smete charge, it has not yet applied the "polluter pays" rule. Progress in coping with air pollution is limited to the adoption of laws. Effective implementation has not yet been reported, the commission said.
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