Bulgaria Must Make Up Delays in Waste Depot Construction by 2015

Environment | August 15, 2013, Thursday // 12:56|  views

Bulgaria's Environment Minister, Iskra Mihaylova, photo by BGNES

By 2015, Bulgaria must make up for delays in the provision regional household waste depots in order to avoid penalties under the ongoing infringement procedure launched by the EC over the as-yet-unbuilt waste management infrastructure, according to Environment Minister Iskra Mihaylova.

In a Thursday interview for Nova TV, she reminded that Bulgaria had been supposed to build 24 regional household waste depots by 2009 with funding under Operational Program "Environment," but Bulgaria only had 2 depots so far.

"The question is what we did in the period between 2007 and 2013 and why the delays were so big that we risked an infringement procedure," Bulgaria's Environment Minister said, as cited by investor.bg.

Mihaylova specified that the infringement proceedings had reached a stage where Bulgaria was required to provide information.

She informed that Bulgaria faced fines of tens of thousands of euro a month for non-compliance with Bulgaria's EU Accession Treaty and the EU's Waste Framework Directive.

Mihaylova noted that one of the reasons for the delays had been the protests of NGOs.

She claimed that the residents of rural areas pictured waste depots as the old dump site which emitted smoke, contamination and strong odors, adding that the new depots would be modern facilities which could be equipped with separation and composting installations so as to use waste as a resource.

Asked to comment on the recent dismissal of a total of 23 senior officials, including the 16 directors of regional inspectorates, the directors of the three National Parks Rila, Pirin and Central Balkan, and the heads of the four basin directorates (Danube River Basin Directorate, Black Sea Basin Directorate, East Aegean Sea River Basin Directorate, West Aegean Sea River Basin Directorate), Mihaylova argued that all of them were free to take part in the competitions for their posts and be reappointed.

Mihaylova made clear that the regional environment inspectorates had to streamline their activity, illustrating her point with a decision of such a body which had triggered an infringement procedure by the EC over the inadequate protection of habitats in the region of Kaliakra.

She also noted that the authorities had detected violations in public procurement procedures of National Parks Rila and Pirin and that biodiversity projects financed under the Operational Program "Environment" were exposed to risks.

Mihaylova further explained that dams in Bulgaria were in good condition, they were filled to 86% of their capacity, but rural areas relying on own sources of water were likely to face problems.

She said that it was possible to allocate financial resources under OP Environment to water supply, not only purification, in the next programming period.

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Tags: iskra mihaylova, operational program, waste depot, waste management, infringement procedure, European Commission, EU law, dismissals


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