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Environmental Local Authorities InterBalkan Network - ELAIN

Sofia, 2nd Local Activity

On 25.08.2014, at 14.00pm Sofia Municipality held the Second Local Event, in the frame of ELAIN project.The meeting was attended by representatives of the city administration, academics, NGOs and citizens.The main topic of the meeting was the identification of measures, related to improving the environmental quality of Sofia Municipality.

The event was opened by thethe director of “Municipal lands, forests, water bodies and environment” Directorate, Sofia Municipality, Mrs. Nina Makarova, who presented the objectives of the local event.

At the meeting were presented the results of the first international meeting, that was held in Tirana, Albania, from 31 March to 2 April 2014, gained experience, identified good practices in solving of specific problems, related to the local environment. It was discussed concrete measures, included in the programming documents for development of City of Sofia.

At the event were presented local environmental challenges, related tothedeforestation, air pollution, renewable energy, urban and suburban green, waste management, water contamination and stray animals control.

Meeting participants were familiar with the specific activities that were implemented in accordance with the concept of the municipality regarding the development of green and clean urban and suburban environment of the City of Sofia, including:conducted afforestation, measures taken for the protection of forest fires, actions to reduce carbon emissions by introducing heating of public buildings with biomass from the municipal forest, achieved park landscaping in the central urban part.A brief presentation of the project of Sofia Municipality about restoration of resting areas for migratory birds and restoration of habitats of endangered plant and animal species, which is implemented in Negovan lake, was accomplished.With reference to development of ecological and cultural tourism within the municipality, was presented the project for restoration of many monuments included in the so-called complex "Mala Sveta Gora".Theparticipants were familiar with concrete measures and actions taken for improving the air quality, water and soil, including:repair of existing transport infrastructure to reduce emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, cleaning and corrections of river beds, recovery of protective river dikes, repair of dams, land restoration.In summary, was presented the project of Sofia Municipality for providing composters for home composting to the households.To the participants were exposed key aspects of theStray Dogs Program of Sofia Municipality 2012 - 2016, including:construction of municipal shelters for stray animals, veterinary treatment of stray dogs and promote their adoption.Regarding to the measures taken to limit the noise pollution of the urban environment was presented the basic parameters of the Strategic noise map of Sofia Municipality developed and accepted in 2009.In summary, to the participants at the meeting were presented the parameters of the integrated system of facilities for treatment of domestic waste of the municipality.

At the end of the meeting to the attendees were presented and the conclusions, made during the “round table” at the meeting in Tirana, where project partners identified the specific common problems of the municipalities in the Balkan region, relating to the protection of the environment components:air pollution with particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, water pollution with organic and inorganic pollutants, the existence of illegal landfill for household waste, not well developed systems for separate collection. As a main problem, from which come the others was determined the lack of ecological thinking among the population of the municipalities and the occurrence of low culture of the citizens.

Mrs. Nina Makarova closed the event, expressing her confidence that collaboration between Sofia Municipality and the other partners in ELAIN project will establish sustainable practices in the area of environmental management and will contribute to the improvement of the urban development and the quality of life of the citizens.