Bulgaria reduces household waste, pollution considerably

Bulgaria has reduced household waste generation significantly in recent years, the Ministry of Environment and Water said, quoting a United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) report. This is the Third Environmental Performance Review of Bulgaria covering the period 2007-2015. The aim was to assess the performance following the second review in 1999-2000.

According to the performance review, the population already covered amounts to 99.6%.

According to Sofia news agency, Bulgaria has made progress in the use of economic mechanisms for pollution management, but the polluter-pays principle is applied only partially. A water pollution tax has been introduced, but it is not differentiated according to the type and characteristics of pollutants. Moreover, the uniform charge rates are very low, which raises doubts about their environmental effectiveness. The main economic instrument for pollution management continues to be sanctions for exceeding established threshold values for the quantity of air, water and soil pollutants discharged into the environment.

In the area of waste management, Bulgaria applies enhanced producer responsibility (EPR) schemes, which aim at internalizing environmental externalities. These schemes are associated with quantitative recovery and recycling targets and a landfill tax. According to the report, there is also no information on the extent to which EPR schemes cover the costs related to the management of these waste streams.

Biodiversity is another criterion by which Bulgaria has achieved high marks. In ten years the number of protected areas has increased by 43% compared to 2004, a result recorded in 2014.

Remarkable progress has been registered in the use of renewable energy sources, whose share in 2012 stood at 16.3%, reaching the 2020 target of no less than 16%. The Fund has implemented four major programs to promote green initiatives since 2007.