Bulgaria’s tourism, environment ministers: Tests show sea water is clean

Bulgaria’s tourism and environment ministers have issued assurances of the cleanliness of the country’s Black Sea waters and say that they see a hybrid propaganda campaign against the Bulgarian tourism season.

This targeted campaign is based on the notion that Bulgaria’s Black Sea waters are unsafe, a claim refuted by the regular sampling, the results of which are being announced daily by the Environment Ministry, showing no dangerous pollution.

Tourism Minister Zaritsa Dinkova, interviewed by television station bTV on July 1, said: “A hybrid propaganda campaign was launched against Bulgarian business after the destroyed dam wall in Ukraine

“Our sea is clean and we must defend Bulgaria as a destination,” Dinkova said.

“Let us not forget what the priorities of this government are – entry into Schengen and the euro area. These things would largely solve problems such as queues at the borders, the price problem. All this makes us a target for such ‘mudslinging attacks,” she said.

“Let’s not let this hybrid campaign harm hundreds of families and businesses,” Dinkova said.

She said that first of all, Bulgaria must be advertised in a modern and effective way.

Dinkova said that she was planning a visit to Germany next week, because a decline in tourists from there had been observed, and it was a very important market for Bulgaria.

“I have a meeting with the sales rep there next week as well. We have ideas and we are developing them. I think it will be extremely important to address this problem at both the political and business level,” she said.

Environment Minister Julian Popov, interviewed by Nova Televizia on June 28, said that there was a targeted campaign against the Bulgarian tourist season.

“There is information about propaganda among leading Russian journalists who are discussing how to take advantage of the explosion of the Nova Kakhovka dam to ruin the tourist season of Bulgaria and Romania,” Popov said.

The goal of the campaign against the Bulgarian tourism was to stoke discontent and get Bulgarians to protest for “peace”, he said.

“Regarding the purity of the sea water, we constantly take samples and inform the public,” Popov said.

“The monitoring is incessant. The situation after the explosion is improving. I am in direct contact with my colleagues from Romania and Ukraine, we are publishing the information received,” he said.

He said that claims about pollution are part of the hybrid propaganda against Bulgaria.

“Nova Kakhovka is a dam that is 27 times larger than Iskar dam. The water from it washes into the sea, but it has not reached the Bulgarian shores,” Popov said.

On June 30, in its latest update, Bulgaria’s Environment Ministry said that the most recent data, from checks on June 26 and 27 (three weeks after the June 6 destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam) showed no pollution of Bulgarian waters with potential pollutants as a result of the incident.

Bulgaria recorded the highest number of coastal bathing waters meeting the “excellent quality” standards in 2022, the latest European Environment Agency (EEA) annual report on the quality of bathing waters in the EU, released on June 10, showed.

The number of “excellent quality” sites in Bulgaria increased from 86, or 89.6 per cent of the country’s total in 2021, to 89 (92.7 per cent). The figure put Bulgaria in the seventh spot among the 27 EU member states.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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