Za Zemiata /
Friends of the Earth Bulgaria activists dressed in plastic bag costumes greeted
Europe’s environment ministers yesterday in Sofia, demanding a ‘retirement
plan’ for plastic bags – as politicians gathered for an Environmental Council
The Plastic Free
campaign, joint with Greenpeace Bulgaria, is aiming to restrict single-use
plastics in Bulgaria – especially plastic bags that have proliferated in the
country in the last five years, causing pollution of water and the Black Sea.
Scientists have shown that the Bulgarian Black Sea coast is among the most polluted with microplastics in the world.
Zarichinova from Za Zemiata / Friends of the Earth Bulgaria, said:
Environment Minister Neno Dimov has so far ignored citizens’ petitions and
letters, and failed to take action to limit single-use plastic bags, bottles,
cups and other major pollutants, and these have contributed to growing plastic
pollution in the Black Sea. The minister's disappointing lack of initiative
contradicts his declared priorities as rotating chairperson of the EU’s
The Plastic Free
campaign says the number of plastic bags sold in Bulgaria has doubled since
2010, from less than 5kg per person in 2010 to 10kg in 2016 – equivalent to 2-3
plastic bags per person every day. This contradicts the Bulgarian government’s
claims that plastic bag consumption in Bulgaria is falling. Existing eco-taxes
plastic bags are ineffective, as the 0.28€ charge on plastic bags excludes the
most common lights plastic shopping bags.
“Dimov needs to
act fast if he is to fulfill Bulgaria’s legal obligation to make sure that
lightweight plastic carrier bags are not provided free of charge at the point
of sale by the end of this year,” continued Zarichinova.
allege that Bulgaria is in breach of the EU’s Plastic Bags Directive. Lack of
transparency is part of the problem – and the Bulgarian Environment Ministry
does not disclose the positions it takes in EU Council meetings nor respond to
inquiries from NGOs. There is no public information about the quantities of
plastic bags that are recycled, incinerated, landfilled or littered in the
country, nor about how the government spends the small income collected from
eco-taxes since 2011.
PlasticFree message, more activists highlighted Bulgaria's heavy air pollution
problem and reminded Ministers of the danger to Pirin National Park.