The European Commission said on January 23 that it is taking Bulgaria to the EU Court of Justice over the country’s continued operation of illegal landfills.
EU’s directive on landfills sets certain standards that landfills must meet, in order to prevent adverse effects on human health, water, soil and air. “Although the Bulgarian authorities recognise the problem and are trying to address it, the necessary measures to clean up the landfills have still not been taken and many continue to operate in breach of EU waste legislation,” the European Commission said.
Bulgaria was required to comply with the landfills directive regulations by July 2009, at which point the country still had 130 municipal landfills operating in violation of EU regulations.
“Slow progress over the following years led the Commission to open an infringement procedure in April 2012, when 124 non-compliant landfills were still in operation,” the Commission said.
Bulgarian authorities said that they planned to build 23 new compliant landfills by July 2015, but did not provide a clear calendar for shutting down the landfills currently in operation. Furthermore, litigation before Bulgarian courts regarding the construction of the new landfills means that the initial timeline is unlikely to be met, the EC said.
“According to the latest information available to the Commission, more than four years after the final deadline for closure Bulgaria still has 113 non-compliant landfills in operation. In an effort to speed the closure and clean-up of the illegal landfills, the Commission has therefore decided to bring Bulgaria before the EU Court of Justice,” the Commission said.
(Photo: Sébastien Bertrand)