The European Commission is tempted to adopt a tougher stance on air quality control and can penalize Member States that violate EU rules on pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter in the air.

“The deadlines for complying with legal requirements have passed long ago and some believe that we have already lost too much time. We can not delay the resolution of this problem, my patience is running out,” said the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella.

He pointed out that every year in Europe 400,000 people die prematurely because of the poor air quality.

“We do not include the chronic diseases that our citizens are developing. All Member States have to work more, Bulgaria is no exception,” said the Maltese Commissioner.

According to his words, if urgent and real measures are not taken, air quality standards will continue to be breached beyond 2020. At the moment, the EU strategy on air quality aims to fully comply with existing legislation of the air quality by 2020 and also sets long-term goals for 2030. Separately, the Environmental Noise Directive (END) helps to measure noise levels within the EU and to take the necessary measures to reduce them to acceptable levels.

Vella explained that an even more intensive fight for recycling would be launched. According to him at the moment only 30% of the plastics are recycled. The European Commission and the European Parliament have set the goal that plastics are fully recycled by 2030.

The European Commission will take action against any country, including Bulgaria, if there is a violation of European directives.

There is also a revision of the Drinking Water Directive. Member States Ecology ministers will discuss eco-initiatives and better regulation. All these topics will be on the agenda during the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU.

Recently, this topic is particularly relevant in our public space. In Sofia the average values ​​for fine dust particles in the air are 70 micrograms per cubic meter. The most severe is the pollution on some of the main and busiest boulevards. In general, the most polluted air in the country is in Southwestern Bulgaria.