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Bulgaria capital may fall back on last resort garbage depot

Date: 24.10.2007

Sofia is likely to pick the most controversial option for preventing a looming garbage crisis by re-opening the depot at Suhodol, experts and officials have gloomily forecast.

Faced with Brussels' threat of being taken to the European Court of Justice over its inadequate waste management, Sofia city hall has been mulling several scenarios of tackling the issue.

"The city hall is very likely to load its garbage on trucks, heading for Suhodol on November 15 when its contract with the municipalities of Plovdiv and Karlovo expires," Maria Boyadzhijska, deputy environment mayor, and Evdokia Maneva, member of the environment and waters parliamentary committee, said.

The reopening of Suhodol depot has been considered to be a last resort means of dealing with the garbage problem, as it was shut down before reaching its full storage capacity over the protests of nearby villagers.

Residents of Suhodol district forced Sofia authorities to introduce crisis management in July 2005 after blockading the capital only operational landfill. The protests left the streets in the capital littered with garbage, posing a serious risk to human health and the environment.

Sofia's failure to improve its waste management infrastructure was one of the six issues on which the European Commission launched infringement procedures against Bulgaria last week.

In case Bulgaria fails to address the European executive's concerns, the matter can be referred to the European Court of Justice, the highest judiciary authority in the bloc, which the country joined in January.

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