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Pencho Milkov: The changes initiated by the MPs in the Air Law must be completed

Monday, 25 September 2023

Ivan Belchev emphasized that the word "pollution" should not be used since there is no evidence of such

Representatives of the municipal and regional administrations, MPs from Ruse and experts from the Regional Inspectorate of Environmental Protection and the Regional Health Inspectorate united on the issues of air cleanliness. The meeting, initiated by the mayor Pencho Milkov, was attended by the deputies Zlatan Zlatanov and Ivan Belchev, the regional governor Danail Kovachev, the director of the Regional Inspectorate for Environmental Protection Tsonka Hristova, experts from the environmental and health inspectorates in Ruse.
Currently, the municipal station, equipped and certified for the analysis of organic compounds, does not report exceedances, but with the change of air currents in September, residents of Ruse often find unpleasant odors. That is why Mayor Pencho Milkov once again urged the current deputies to bring the initiated changes in the legislation to completion.

"The fact that the bill to amend the Clean Air Act has been tabled means that even more urgency must be applied on your part to get it on the agenda of the National Assembly," the mayor addressed the MPs. He added that he had repeatedly described the necessary steps for changes in official letters and talks with the previous ministers and prime ministers. It is necessary to shorten the periods of air measurements and average the values over several minutes, not an hour as before, in order to capture the volleys. Standards should also be provided for compounds, for which there are currently none, and experience should be drawn from European countries and texts introduced against unpleasant odours.

Among the sponsors of the project in December 2022 was the representative of the ruling majority of the  Democratic Bulgaria Ivan Belchev. The mayor raised the issue of the mobile station of the Executive Environmental Agency, which every year comes and makes measurements within 14 days in Ruse, but in 2023, despite the applications of the Municipality, did not include the city in its schedule.
Experts from the Regional Inspectorate for Environmental Protection confirmed that the main problem in identifying the exact source of the odours was the short duration of the releases and their rapid dispersion by air currents in the city. In the last two weeks, the Regional Inspectorate of Environmental Protection has carried out dozens of night patrols in the Eastern Industrial Zone, as the signals are mainly from the "Zdravets" and "Vazrazhdane" districts. Checks begin at 8:30 p. m. and continue past midnight. There has also been a case in the last week where smells lead to smouldering landfill in the ''Puhlevo Dere'' area.

Eng. Tsonka Hristova pointed out that laboratories exist in the Netherlands and Italy to test the saturation of unpleasant odours. The analysis of one sample currently costs 28 thousand leva however, it does not show the content of substances in the air and what their impact on human health is.
"According to European legislation, there are currently no harmful emissions from existing industries because they are obliged to dispose of all substances in their installations. Our organics station data shows no exceedances. This means that there is no pollution, but the unpleasant aroma is a fact," the mayor said. He insisted on continuing the joint inspections of the complex permits with representatives of the Regional Inspectorate for Environmental Protection and the Regional Ministry, as only construction experts can establish whether the filters, ventilation system and other requirements set in the permits are maintained and working in a plant.

Taking into account the sensitive topic for the people of Ruse, as well as the existing investment proposal for the construction of an incinerator for incineration of hospital waste in Giurgiu, the attendees united around the idea of the Environment Committee in the National Assembly to hold an off-site meeting in Ruse, for which Ivan Belchev MP committed to assist. He emphasized that the word "pollution" should not be used since there is no evidence of such.

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