Bulgaria: Sofia Municipality declares war on noise pollution in parks and homes

Written by on October 9, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Bulgaria: Sofia Municipality declares war on noise pollution in parks and homes

Bench parties in parks, something Sofia is famous for, will now be more complicated to organise and celebrate. That is because Sofia Municipality came up with a new Ordinance on Public Order.

According to the new rule, consuming alcohol on benches and in parks, close to children’s playgrounds, is forbidden. Those who do not comply might have to pay fines of up to 300 Leva (153 Euro), according to Bulgarian-language publications.

But that new rule only applies if “the public order and the peace of other citizens” is being disturbed. This seems to mean that there might be room for interpretation.

The ordinance also covers parties in private homes between 10 pm and 8 am. Private fireworks during those hours, which are very common in Sofia, are not allowed. Neither is loud singing in apartments, the use of sound systems or other loud devices. Fines can amount to several hundred Leva in these cases as well.

Sofia Municipality also targeted street musicians and other artists in public areas. They are only allowed to perform at places designated by Mayor Yordanka Fandakova. It remained unclear which ones she picked.

Noise pollution is an issue in Sofia, and in other Bulgarian cities, towns and Black Sea resorts. Many motorbike owners remove the exhaust pipes of their vehicles, in order to make sure they wake up the entire city.

Renovations in apartment blocks are a problem as well, since many apartment owners do not seem to be interested in following rules at all. When neighbours complain about noise during official quiet hours, the perpetrators often react aggressively.

In a recent case in Sofia’s Doktorska Gradina quarter, a man had renovated his apartment for ten months, without adhering to any rules, even though his wife promised he would.

Recently, when he was drilling and hammering during quiet hours yet again, an expat neighbour complained, but that man told him to “go f*** yourself.” When the police showed up a few minutes later, he suddenly became a very good citizen. The officers ordered him to adhere to the rules, and warned him not to take revenge on the person who complained.

The Bulgarian police seems to react in severe cases, provided the person who complains speaks Bulgarian or brings someone who does.

In Bulgaria, loud refurbishments in apartments are allowed every day, including on Sundays. But between 2 and 4 pm, causing loud noise is prohibited. Many tenants and apartment owners have to endure construction noise months in a row.

 

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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com