Environment

Mayor promises activists Sofia would install renewables to cut air pollution

Mayor activists Sofia renewables air pollution

Photo: Greenpeace Bulgaria

Published

December 23, 2020

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Published:

December 23, 2020

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After a campaign to make the capital city’s decision makers do more to reduce air pollution Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova met with representatives of Greenpeace Bulgaria and vowed to introduce more renewable energy installations on public buildings and backed the organization’s demands.

As the public consultation for a new air quality program in the city was ending and after almost five thousand citizens submitted suggestions, Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova met with activists from Greenpeace Bulgaria. She accepted their gift, a snow globe with dirt in the water, symbolizing air pollution in the country’s capital.

Fandakova expressed willingness to build solar power units on more municipal buildings and pointed to a study for such a project in the city zoo. She also highlighted the waste treatment program for the region that includes the capital city.

Fandakova willing to cooperate with Greenpeace Bulgaria

The head of the Sofia Municipality, also known as Stolichna Municipality, invited the organization for a meeting early next year. “I fully share the concerns of Greenpeace Bulgaria and your desire to participate. There is a need for the participation of every person, every organization,” she said.

Sofia manages more than 600 buildings and it will examine the possibility to install solar panels on them, the mayor claimed

Fandakova said she fully supports Greenpeace Bulgaria’s demands and that the city government needs help on some of the issues. Sofia manages more than 600 buildings and it will examine the possibility to gradually implement the suggested measures, she asserted.

With regard to the program for the replacement of old heating devices, for which Greenpeace Bulgaria suggested should be upgraded with the option to use renewables, the mayor said the municipality is open for bolder measures. The scheme is for pellet stoves, gas, district heating and electricity.

Issues remain for transportation system

The local authority expects lawmakers to enable the mayor to regulate the classes of vehicles that can enter particular zones when forecasters expect higher air pollution in Sofia, she stressed.

At the moment, the city government hasn’t discussed the possibility to power electric vehicles with electricity from renewable sources, Fandakova acknowledged and revealed she is open to discuss the issue. The measures planned so far envisage compliance with air quality standards only in 2026, the organization underscored.

Greenpeace Bulgaria noted Fandakova has been the mayor of Sofia for 11 years, since succeeding current Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, and that the European Union launched a procedure two times against the Balkan state for excessive air pollution. The organization said it would push for support for prosumers and energy communities and the expansion of district heating with renewable sources that would exclude biomass and waste incineration.

The statement adds solar power projects should be directed at helping vulnerable groups overcome energy poverty.

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