Author: Svilena Velcheva

An incredibly emotional day without plastic bags was held in Varna on July 3. “Armed” with cards with images of animals entangled in nylon, volunteers from the Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development took over the Blue Market near the Cathedral. From “I’m always with a cloth bag” to “I know, but I always forget it” were the remarks of the people who stopped talking to our volunteers. Others were waiting for a gift – a bag, similar to our last year’s campaign. But … this time the prize was for people who went shopping with a reusable bag. They received a voucher for a book of their choice. The voucher was in the form of a book divider and its purpose is to remind how important it is to limit the use of plastic in our daily lives.

Alexandrina Lozanova was the first to take the opportunity. “What a rich choice!” Exclaimed the young mother as she examined the books in the Kubrick Hall of the PECSD. The gift books are second-hand fiction or new specialized literature donated to the organization. All of them are provided for our permanent initiative “Green Fridays” and the campaign “Return a bottle, get a book”.

The day without plastic bags has been the start of the summer volunteer campaign of the PECSD. The first volunteers who responded to our call on Facebook were Steliana Kaleva, Desislava Georgieva and Bozhena Katelieva, students at the Mathematical, Humanitarian and Fifth Language High Schools in Varna. Maria Petrova works as a volunteer photographer.

The initiative “Come with a bag, get a booklet” is realized on the idea of another young man, a volunteer, passionate about the “green” way of life – Apostol Penkov. It was his civic initiative on the occasion of the Day without plastic bags that we chose to support at the beginning of the summer. The support is implemented under the project “Improving public awareness of the role of civil society for the community” with the financial support of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Financial Mechanism. The main goal of the project is to improve citizens’ awareness of the role of non-governmental organizations in society.

For the realization of the action we used the marketing expertise of Sabina Maximova, who is the coordinator of the mission “I choose the reusable cup” at the Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development.

# НеМерсиНосяСи and # ЯПравяЧистаВарна have become the leitmotif of the campaign. The sellers at the Blue Market stopped offering plastic bags, at least on July 3, we saw for ourselves. Instead, they asked, “Will you give me a bag?” And in “What bag should I put them on?” Some even sympathetically complained about customers who wanted each salad in a separate piece of plastic. Is it worth?

On average, we use one bag for 12 minutes before disposing of it. Most plastic bags are made from a material that cannot be recycled or is economically unprofitable to make. Plastic bags do not decompose, but break up for up to 400 years into tiny particles (micro plastic) that contaminate soils and water and enter the food chain of animals and humans.

According to a European directive, by 2021 we must reduce the use of plastic bags to 80 pieces / person per year, and by 2025 – to 40. We currently use an average of over 200 pieces per year.

Mankind’s plastic consumer “diet” is impossible for wildlife to swallow. And when nature gets sick, people get sick too.

Translator: Valentina Vagge

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Improving public knowledge about the role of Civil Society Organizations

The project “Improving public knowledge about the role of Civil Society Organizations” shall be implemented with the financial support of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Financial Mechanism. The main goal of the project is to improve citizens’ awareness of the role of non-governmental organizations in society. This material is established with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund of Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. The whole responsibility for the content of the document is held by the Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development and under no circumstances can this material be considered to reflect the official opinion of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Active Citizens Fund of Bulgaria.