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If the waste incineration plant becomes operational, it will have a severe impact on citizens helth

Citizens want to block polluting waste-incineration plant in Sofia

Citizens want to block polluting waste-incineration plant in Sofia

According to the civil initiative behind the move, the facility will have a heavy negative impact on the quality of life in the city beside being unprofitable

On 10 August the civil initiative “For a Green Sofia Without Waste Incineration” (originally: За чиста София без изгаряне на отпадъци) submitted an appeal to the Bulgarian Parliament's Revision Committee to block the construction of the massive garbage incineration plant adjacent to the city centre.

According to representatives of the civil initiative, the project needs to halt immediately, because the finished plant would contribute a staggering amount of fine dust particles to the already polluted air in the capital.

The plant construction is set to complete by 2023 and it will be located on the grounds of the 'Sofia' thermal power plant less than three kilometres from the city centre.

An EU project promoting air pollution

Just last week, the citizens of Plovdiv won a landmark case against their municipal government regarding air pollution. The legal battle went on for 10 years and ended with an unprecedented decision by the Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cassation in favour of the citizens.

Even though the data submitted in the case was 10 years old, the court concluded that the city has not fulfilled its obligation to the people based on the fact that Bulgaria was found guilty on the same account – polluting the air - by the Court of Justice of the European Union in 2017.

Now, the matter of breathable air is on the agenda again, as activist groups in Sofia are pushing to block the project for a waste incineration plant, built near the heart of the city.

The construction project is almost exclusively financed by European institutions with 77 million euros coming as a grant from the European Regional Development Fund and another 67 million as a loan from the European Investment Bank. Only a fraction of the sum is coming from the local budget – 10 million euros.

At the same time, the incineration plant’s operational costs to the tune of 500 million euros will be covered with taxpayer money for a period of 30 years. Coincidentally, this is the same amount of time the plant will stay in service.

Furthermore, the activist group suspects that the new plant will burn imported garbage from the European Union or other parts of Bulgaria. This is provoked by the facility’s capacity to burn 180,000 tonnes per year, three times more than the incinerable trash produced in Sofia.

The unbreathable capital of Bulgaria

According to the civil activists the plant will cause irreparable damage to the city and the citizens and, on top of that, it is also financially unprofitable, making it an unwise decision all around.

One of the big problems, they explained, is that local authorities have not done proper research into the cumulative effects of the new pollutants introduced to the city or into the inevitable health risks for the population.

At the same time, Sofia is the most polluted capital in the European Union according to Statista, with an average of 27.5 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic meter of air and any increase would have a significant negative impact on the quality of life of its residents.

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