Bulgaria in hot water over bad air

The European Commission is urging Bulgaria to reduce ambient levels of sulphur dioxide (SO2), an air pollutant from industrial installations that can cause respiratory problems and aggravate cardiovascular disease, the EC said on November 26 2014.

The infringement concerns Bulgaria’s breach of the Air Quality Directive, which obliges EU countries to observe both the hourly and daily limit values for exposure, as well as to establish air quality plans setting out appropriate measures to reduce SO2 levels.

Citizens in two zones, one in the south west and the other in the south east of Bulgaria, have been exposed to excessive levels of SO2 since at least 2007.

“While the measures taken in zone South-West to meet limit values were efficient enough to achieve compliance with EU legislation in 2013, excessive levels of harmful pollutants persist in zone South-East, causing continued damage to human health,” the EC said.

With the November 26 action, technically an additional reasoned opinion, the Commission said that it is asking Bulgaria to take “forward-looking, speedy and effective action” to keep the period of non-compliance as short as possible.

If Bulgaria fails to act within two months, the case may be referred to the EU Court of Justice, the EC said.

(Photo: Corus IJmuiden/sxc.hu)



The Sofia Globe staff

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