Author: Desislava Georgieva
Published On: 08/12/2023

The first reforestation action of the Public Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development, together with the CashON campaign of “MiaZoo”, took place on the International Volunteer Day – December 5. In the courtyard of the University Hospital “Sv. Marina” volunteers planted and strengthened saplings of linden trees purchased with funds from the campaign.

For a year, for every delivery box that MiaZoo’s customers returned instead of throwing away, the company set aside 30 cents to benefit the reforestation cause. The money collected was donated to the Leaf Fund at the Public Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development. Thus, the benefits for the environment came in at least two directions – for once, paper was not destroyed and trees were not cut down to produce it, and secondly, urban areas were reforested.

In recent years, online deliveries have increased manifold, and with them the paper used for packaging, such as cartons, boxes, envelopes, etc. The message the CashON campaign organisers are sending is that every carton is a tree saved from being cut down. Let’s look at it not as packaging, but as a resource that can benefit both the economy and the environment. A carton can be used up to 7 times and, once depreciated, can be recycled and turned back into paper.

On the other hand, urbanisation and overdevelopment in Varna in recent years has led to a drastic reduction in trees. The green areas per Varna resident are twice less than the legally required. This deteriorates the urban environment and the quality of life of the inhabitants of the sea capital.

After the hurricane in mid-November, dozens of trees were broken and uprooted in Varna. In the courtyard of the university hospital the storm knocked down 6 trunks, 40-60 cm thick. Apart from this, the Primorski district is one of the most desirable for construction investments. This comes at the expense of hundreds of trees and green areas that are being wiped off the city map forever. Compensation programmes are usually not implemented in the directly affected neighbourhood and not infrequently have controversial results.

The Public Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development decided to promote a citizens’ initiative for afforestation of urban areas. We began by exploring permit regimes for planting trees in public areas. We made an inquiry on the subject to the Municipality, the District Administration and the Regional Forestry Department. We also held a meeting with one of the deputy mayors of the city. The aim is to analyse the problems and describe the steps for issuing a permit for planting trees on public land. Transparency of the process would stimulate other companies, like MiaZoo, to organise recycling and reforestation campaigns.

The contribution of all participants in the CashON campaign last year was 300 BGN. The amount was used to buy lime trees and peat mixture. The work of the volunteers who planted and the experts who organised the process was unpaid. Work is ongoing to publicise the process for permit regimes for afforestation by citizens and socially responsible companies in Varna.

 

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This material is created with the financial support of the European Union, in the framework of project Climate action by European citizens delivers for development CSO-LA/2018/160048-1/23. Only the authors are responsible for the content and in no circumstances, it can be treated as the official position of the European Union.