Environment Minister: No threat from Kakhovka to Bulgarian Black Sea coast in near future

There is no threat to the Bulgarian Black Sea coast in the near future, Environment Minister Julian Popov told Bulgarian National Radio on June 22, commenting on the environmental risks after the explosion of the dam wall at Kakhovka in Ukraine.

The dam wall was destroyed on June 6 in an explosion that Ukraine blames on Russia.

Popov told BNR: “The risk is exaggerated. We monitor our Black Sea coast at six points. Samples are constantly taken for 24 indicators.

“We are also in direct contact with the Romanian and Ukrainian environmental ministries. Satellite observations are also carried out, models are made from the Romanian and Bulgarian sides. There is no threat to the Bulgarian Black Sea coast in the near future,” he said.

He said that oil flecks from the hydroelectric power station were being tracked by satellite and were circulating around Odesa.

“They didn’t even enter the waters of Romania,” Popov said.

Popov believes that blowing up the dam wall is being used by Russian propaganda.

Video has emerged of Russian propagandists discussing using the aftermath of the Kakhovka destruction to instil fear, and resentment against Ukraine.

On June 22, the Environment Ministry posted the latest daily update on its website. Popov ordered enhanced monitoring on June 8.

Citing summarised data and satellite observations, the ministry said that there was no evidence of pollution in the Bulgarian Black Sea water area.

Weekly monitoring of the quality of coastal sea waters from three coastal points – Durankulak, Shabla and Kaliakra – is being carried out.

The water is being monitored for the presence of petroleum products, metals, the radionuclides cesium-137 and tritium, and additional indicators (pesticides, etc.) are also included in response to the newly emerging situation. To date, no excesses have been found for any of the indicators being checked, the ministry said.

“The state of not only the coastal, but also the water currents deep into the sea is monitored. The monitoring of the state of the sea waters is coordinated with the Ministry of Tourism with a view to the smooth running of the tourist season.”

Sampling frequency is sufficient to make an objective assessment of the current state of sea waters, the ministry said.

As The Sofia Globe reported on June 9, the latest European Environment Agency (EEA) annual report on the quality of bathing waters in the EU showed that Bulgaria recorded its highest number of coastal bathing waters meeting the “excellent quality” standards in 2022.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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