Bulgaria’s government increases fines for environmental pollution by 50 to 100%

Bulgaria’s Cabinet approved on January 3 amendments to an ordinance on fines for damage or pollution of the environment above the permissible norms and/or in case of non-compliance with the specified emission norms and restrictions, the government information service said.

The new texts set higher penalties for violations by sole traders and legal entities, by 50 per cent and in some cases 100 per cent, the statement said.

The amendments increase the penalties, taking into account inflation, and above all respects the “polluter pays” principle, the government information service said.

It said that an analysis for the period 2019-2021 showed that the fines had not been updated for more than 10 years.

“The low penalties have no effect on offenders who have no problem paying them regularly and do not take measures to stop pollution,” the statement said.

“Low sanctions lead to an increase in violations, and from there to damage to the components of the environment – atmospheric air, atmosphere, waters, soil, subsoil, landscape, natural objects, mineral diversity, biological diversity and its elements. This also leads to a real danger of endangering people’s lives and health.”

Formulas are applied for calculating penalties for measured concentrations above the established average daily and average annual standards for permissible emissions.

The changes in the section on ambient air quality violations are in line with the European Industrial Emissions Directive, the statement said.

(Screenshots from drone footage of Sofia taken by AirBG.info)

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