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Saturday, June 25

24 regions in Bulgaria dangerously polluted

Updated on: 19.12.2008, 17:40

Published on: 19.12.2008, 17:37

Author: Svetlana Guineva

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A report listing 24 regions in Bulgaria with increased health risk for their residents due to heavily polluted soil or air, was accepted by the Government on December 18 2008, Bulgarian-language Sega daily reported.

The report was a needed foundation upon which various prophylactic programmes will be initiated for the better quality of life in all 14 cities and 10 villages in question.

Health hazards due to high indexes of air pollution has Sofia, especially in the area of the steel mill Kremikovtsi; also in the industrial city of Pernik at 30 km southwest of Sofia; in Kurdjali, where one of the biggest non-ferrous metallurgy factory is located; Bourgas; Devnya; and the region of Stara Zagora, Radnevo and Gulubovo, with the nearby thermal power plant Maritsa-Iztok, regularly spewing out toxic gases, the dangerous sulphur dioxide being only one of them.

In the group with polluted soil fall the same cities and 10 other villages, some of which are Chelopech, Ostrovitsa, Zlidol, Zverino, Kroumovo and Brestnik, all of them near intensive mining operations.

The criteria used to determine which settlements hid health hazards for their residents were outlined by the Health Minister Evgenii Zhelev and the Environment Minister Djevdet Chakurov. They have evaluated indexes indicating exceeded concentration of toxic gasses in the air, metals, resistant organic pollutants as well as registered poor quality of the region's drinking water, Sega daily reported.

Only two months ago, Zhelev tried to push through a programme for healthier environment in the Stara Zagora region, with an estimated cost of two million leva. The Cabinet turned it down with the argument that Stara Zagora was not the only settlement in the country in need of a cleaner air. The Government's legal team also has cited a legal framework that required the existence of an approved list of environmentally endangered settlements in order for such programme to be implemented, Sega daily reported.

What would be the budget allotted for the "revitalising" of each of the 24 settlements would depend on the Health Minister, and as of now, no certain amount has been indicated, the newspaper said.

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