Environment Minister: Panic that Nova Kakhovka polluted Bulgarian Black Sea is unfounded

The panic that the Bulgarian Black Sea is polluted after the explosion of the Nova Kakhovka dam in Ukraine is unfounded, Environment Minister Julian Popov said in a television interview on July 16.

Ukraine has blamed Russia for the June 6 destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam.

Popov said that there was a documented conversation between leading Russian journalists about how to use the Nova Kakhovka case to ruin the tourist season in Bulgaria and Romania.

“Bookings are increasing. There are many foreign tourists. Things are looking better. We worked for a month to explain that there was nothing to worry about. There is no pollution from Ukraine,” he told Nova Televizia.

“Because all the currents that move in the northwestern part, around the Odesa Bay, together stay in this region. Besides, the pollution (in that region) itself is not that serious,” Popov said.

He said that the Naval Academy in Bulgaria’s Black Sea city of Varna was deploying a vessel to take additional samples and reassure people that the water is clean.

Bulgaria’s Environment Ministry has for more than a month been posting daily updates showing no pollution of the Bulgarian Black Sea.

Bulgaria’s Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev told bTV on July 16: “The water in the Black Sea has the best indicators of the past five to six years. Take advantage of our beautiful sea in this terrible heat”.

Kunchev was speaking from Primorsko, where he was holidaying with the family, and said that he  continued to be amazed at the distrust people have towards the institutions, to continue speculating that the waters of the Black Sea are polluted.

The most recent samples examined show that there was no deviation in the microbiological indicators that are monitored.

In addition, the experts monitor the data from the Ministry of the Environment, from where they confirm that there is no risk to people’s health. “There is no pollution whatsoever – neither chemical nor radiological. There is absolutely no question of a risk of bathing,” Kunchev said.

On the morning of July 15, the mayor of the resort town of Sozopol, Tihomir Yanakiev, local hoteliers and restaurateurs went to the beach together early in the morning and swam in the sea to show that there is no need to worry about the quality of the sea water, Bulgarian National Television (BNT).

“I’m tired of hearing negative news about the Bulgarian Black Sea,” BNT reported Yanakiev as saying.

“How, you see, the water was polluted, how the Kakhovka dam will affect the quality of the sea water, how the food was expensive and the people were inhospitable. I mean that the Bulgarian Black Sea is a great place, especially Sozopol, and everyone can find their vacation spot here,” he said.

Popov, referring to the incident at the Urals Electrochemicals Combine on July 14, in which one person died in an accident at the plant – which enriches uranium for use in nuclear power stations – said that there was no increase in radiation in Bulgaria.

“We don’t hide information. Exactly the opposite. Such things happen and will happen in Russia.”

On July 15, the Environment Ministry said that there was no danger to Bulgaria from the incident in the Ural Electrochemical Combine in the Russian city of Novouralsk.

It said that the incident was a local one, and the place of the reported incident was far from Bulgaria.

The National Automated System for Continuous Gamma Background Radiation Monitoring is part of the European Radiological Data Exchange Platform (EURDEP). Background gamma radiation data from Bulgaria is submitted to EURDEP every hour and can be viewed on the internet at: https://remap.jrc.ec.europa.eu/Advanced.aspx.

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