Krassen Nikolov is a journalist specialised in judiciary affairs. He works for Mediapool and will be a regular contributor for BulgarianPresidency.eu for the six months of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
The air in Sofia during the winter months was never particularly good, but during the first days of 2018, the citizens of the Bulgarian capital remembered the days in which the socialist-era metallurgical giant Kremikovtzi was still working. [Kremikovtzi is a giant metallurgical plant was built near Sofia in the 1950s, despite the fact that there is neither iron nor coal in the region. The real purpose of the plant was to create a workers’ class. For several years now the plant has been closed].
Due to the lack of wind on the evening of 5 January the smog descended over the city and the particle levels in some neighborhoods exceeded the norm by nearly 30 times. The situation got back to normal only on 9 January at noon, although for those four days the local government in Sofia did not take any measures. Kindergartens and schools remained open, and directors were not warned not to take the children outside.
The Bulgarian capital is one of the places with the dirtiest air in Europe, and in other cities in the country the situation is also bad.
Less than a year ago, the European Court of Justice sentenced Bulgaria for failing to take measures to improve air quality. The state was found guilty of systematically exceeding daily and annual norms for fine particulate matter.