Sofia air pollution crisis: Mayor tells residents to stay inside

Written by on January 28, 2018 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Sofia air pollution crisis: Mayor tells residents to stay inside

On Sunday morning, the air quality in the Bulgarian capital Sofia was still catastrophic. In virtually all parts of the city, the Particulate Matter (PM) concentration exceeded acceptable levels by far.

In the very centre of Sofia, the PM10 concentration was up to 466µg/m³ (micrograms per cubic metre), while nobody should be breathing air with more than 50µg/m³.

In the Losenets neighbourhood, 578µg/m³ were measured, in Krasna Polyana 678µg/m³, in Orlandovtsi 769µg/m³, in Vrashdebna 864µg/m³, and in Lagera 643µg/m³. The concentration of the even more dangerous PM2.5 was also extremely high, according to Air BG.

For days, there was no spot in Sofia, in which breathing would have been healthy. The exact opposite is the case. Breathing this kind of air can lead to strokes, respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer.

On early Sunday morning, mayor Yordanka Fandukova introduced an actual measure against the dirty air. She said a Green Ticket for Sofia’s public transport was now available.

The Green Ticket costs 1 lev (0.51 euro). It is valid for the entire public transport system for one entire day. With this measure, Sofia Municipality is trying to make residents use public transport, rather than their cars.

The Air BG map on Sunday morning.

Fandukova asked owners of cars with classes under Euro5, to “limit their movements”. In a statement on social media, she also said vehicle owners should not run their engines for longer than 3 minutes. It remained unclear what exactly she meant by that, since getting from A to B in 3 minutes is difficult in most cases.

In Bulgaria, vehicle classes such as Euro5 or Euro4 are hardly known, because so far nobody ever cared about the kind of exhaust gases they spread. Tens of thousands of old cars with old engines bought in Western European countries are moving on Bulgarian roads.

Fandukova also called on residents to use electrical appliances for heating their homes, rather that wood or coal.

And she said the advice doctors had for citizens with respiratory diseases, small children and elderly people was to avoid long stays outdoors. When walking, people should use routes which did not include the big boulevards, she stated.

The mayor knows breathing in the Bulgarian capital is actually dangerous these days. This year alone, this is already the second breathing air crisis in Sofia. The city always produces bad air in high concentrations. When there is no wind to blow it away, the situation escalates.

In Plovdiv, the breathing air was only a little better. The PM concentration measured on Sunday morning was up to seven times the highest recommended levels.






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