site.btaParliament Approves on Principle Legal Amendments to Broaden Mayors' Powers to Penalize Littering and Illegal Dumping
Bulgaria’s National Assembly adopted Wednesday on first reading a bill to supplement the Waste Management Act that broadens mayors' powers to penalize littering and illegal dumping of waste. The bill was submitted by GERB-UDF MP Evgeniya Aleksieva and a group of MPs.
The aim of the bill is to enable local authorities to adopt an ordinance to determine the conditions and procedures for waste disposal, collection, transportation, transshipment, recovery, and disposal. That applies to household and construction waste, general waste, including bio-waste, and hazardous household waste.
"By 2035, Bulgaria should recycle 65% of our household waste, and only 10% of household waste should be landfilled," said Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria (CC-DB) MP Tatyana Sultanova-Sieva. In her words, Bulgaria is still very far from the European average for both landfilling and recycling. She noted that poor municipal waste management is not a new problem. According to her, the proposed revisions will enable mayors to issue penal decrees, but the situation will not change in any way unless they finally start doing their job. She said she is in favour of the bill's implementation.
Vazrazhdane MP Kosta Stoyanov said that his party also backs the bill because its members believe that the proposed amendments will help local authorities increase the efficiency of waste management and they hope to solve to a large extent the problems with unregulated landfills in this country. Stoyanov added that mayors would now have no excuse, as the extension of their powers to impose administrative penalties on those responsible for littering and illegal waste dumping would have to significantly improve the maintenance and cleanliness of municipalities. Vazrazhdane MP Petar Petrov said that his party would propose additions to the bill aimed at increasing control over local authorities - mayors in particular - in order to more effectively enforce the administrative penal provisions of the Waste Management Act.
"It seems that every time we talk about mayors in the National Assembly, we all rush to attack them, as if they are some parasitic organization, people who are trying to hinder the development of this country, but this is not the case at all," GERB-UDF MP Mladen Shishkov said. He noted that the truth is that the generated waste is thrown away not by the mayors but by people. Shishkov called on the MPs not to lump all mayors together, stressing that there are mayors who do their best to keep their municipality clean all the time, but the law does not allow them to impose timely sanctions.
Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) MP Stanislav Atanasov noted that mayors are sanctioned even now. According to him, a mechanism should be provided to the mayors "to go after the ultimate polluter", because this is the European principle - in the end, the polluter should pay.