Ecology, understood as interactions with the environment, is all about a settlement. It is air, water, soil, landscaping, etc. Therefore, on the eve of the local elections, a team of the “Public Center for the Environment and Sustainable Development” (OCSUR) asked to know the ideas in the field of ecology of the main candidate-mayors from all municipal centers in the Varna region. Questions were sent to them. Since an authority cannot decide anything on its own, nor should it, the non-governmental organization asked questions on the same topics to experts and citizens.
The peculiar referendum did not aim at sociological representativeness, nor did it claim to cover all issues and proposals. His idea was to give prominence to the main ones – as they are seen by the candidates and representatives of civil society. Another goal was for all of this to be a guide for voters in terms of priorities and programs. It can hardly be said that the task is accomplished. It will become clear below why. But interesting opinions appeared, ideas that otherwise rarely find a place in the public space – the goal in this part has been achieved, and it will also become clear why.
ONE OF TEN
The questions were addressed to the press centers of eight political forces and their candidates for mayor in each municipality of the Varna region. Specifically for Varna – to each one of the ten contenders, through the possible forms of contact. The questions were the same to maintain equality. A deadline was given for an answer. And also an opportunity for live communication with EcoVarna representatives, if the candidates wish. But as a result, only one answer was sent back – from Hristo Dimitrov, candidate for mayor of Varna from the “Citizens’ Alternative”.
The questions themselves were 3, distributed by topics: What is the biggest problem of your municipality in the field of water? Why hasn’t it been resolved yet? What solution would you suggest? – in the field of water, air, waste, public works and communications.
Here is Dimitrov’s opinion:
Regarding the waters, he emphasizes the Black Sea and its purity. More specifically, he is referring to the damaged pipe at the entrance to Lake Varna, which is still unburied under the bottom. Dimitrov would engage experts at the start of his term to analyze the situation. And if the coast turns out to be polluted, appropriate measures will be taken.
Regarding the air, the main problem for him is the lack of measuring stations in Varna. Accordingly – and information on air quality. “We only have two measuring stations, as well as one mobile one, which acts mainly on signals. This is a grossly insufficient amount of data to have a real idea of the values of key pollutants such as PM10, PM2.5 as well as nitrogen dioxide. We would work to place more measuring stations. They will help us get a clearer picture of the sources of pollution,” commented Dimitrov.
“Our municipality has a really serious problem with waste, that’s obvious. The biggest problem is the lack of control. To keep his voters, the previous mayor avoided any unpopular measures for years. The “Ecology and Environmental Protection” Directorate is large, there is also a “Waste Management” department. With these experts, an urgent analysis of the situation must be made and measures taken. It is necessary to control the commitments of the cleaning companies, but it is also time to control the people who pollute”, is Dimitrov’s opinion on the subject of waste. He advocates citizen participation in reporting pollution, and incentive measures for participation in this process. According to him, the type of containers in the city, their location, etc., should be analyzed.
According to Dimitrov, the lack of adequate infrastructure is the main problem in public works and communications. “Work should be done in the direction of improving communication and exchange of experience between the municipality and the entrepreneurs. The municipality knows first of all where there is real investment interest, i.e. a building permit has been issued. Her actions should be ahead of events, these areas should be improved in time,” he says.
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHERS, YET?
Despite the neglect, the EcoVarna team tried to find the views of other candidates for mayor in the public space. After only Hristo Dimitrov answered, the focus of the additional search was Varna – after all, to get more clarity about the plans for the city – if not specifically on the topics targeted by EcoVarna, then at least on similar ones. Unfortunately, candidates rarely write programs and priorities (not only in Varna, and not from now on). And if they do, they obviously keep them with them. Therefore, additional information is scarce:
The program of Ivan Portnich (GERB) for the “Water wealth of Varna” envisages: restoration of public fountains, public use of mineral springs. Regarding cleanliness: “Introduction of a video surveillance system to control unregulated pollution to receive information