Sofia: Mayor Fandukova asks residents not to heat with solid fuel

Written by on January 9, 2018 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Sofia: Mayor Fandukova asks residents not to heat with solid fuel

Because of what she called “elevated levels of fine particulate matter in Sofia in recent days”, the Bulgarian capital’s Mayor, Yordanka Fandakova, has asked residents not to use solid fuel for their heating on days with his pollution levels. She also called on residents to use public transport instead of their own vehicles.

After days of extremely high particulate matter (PM) levels in Sofia’s air, it was the first time the Mayor mentioned the issue publicly.

Yoranka Fandakova said, Sofia Municipality was in the process of sweeping boulevards. She mentioned Boulevard Cherni Vrah, which was cleaned in the past few days. She also states, the city would have more streets cleaned once there was no danger of ice anymore.

The Mayor stated the Municipality’s main efforts were aimed at limiting the use of waste for heating, including old tyres, old oil, plastic and other trash. Therefore, the city would continue picking up old tyres from the streets. So far, 3,000 of them had been collected. Fandakova also mentioned a textile collection, as well as checks which the city carried out at collection points.

According to Sofia’s Mayor, the Municipality does not have the authority to inspect homes of residents in order to see what kind of heating fuels they used.

Mayor Fandakova said, on the Municipality’s website, air pollution data collected from five measuring stations were available. She admitted the PM levels were high since January 5. But the numbers she mentioned did in no way match the data coming from the website airbg.info/map, which uses multiple measuring stations. On that site, the PM values had been up to 20 times the recommended level, especially during the nights.

The geographical and climatic characteristics of the city had to be considered too, the Mayor indicated. This is where she saw the main reason for elevated PM levels.

To NGOs, Mayor Fandakova’s statement does not go far enough, since cleaning a boulevard and collecting tyres will likely not produce big results. It remains to be seen whether her call for using public transport and not using solid fuels will reach the residents, since it seemed to be hidden in the middle of her long statement.

Photo: Yordanka Fandakova, taken by Imanuel Marcus.

 

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