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Bulgaria mulls measures to reduce fine particulate matter pollution

SOFIA, July 15 — Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev and Minister of Environment and Water Ivelina Vassileva said here on Tuesday they were considering measures to reduce fine particulate matter pollution.

"We need to propose ambitious measures related to air quality, and especially to address the problem of pollution by fine particulate matter," Donchev said at a conference.

These measures were neither easy nor cheap, and depending on the financial resources, the state would continue the modernization of the vehicles that generate this type of pollution, Donchev said.

However, the use of solid fuels for households heating was much more serious challenge, and the government was considering measures such as the introduction of incentives for accelerated gasification which should be adopted at the beginning of next year, said Donchev, who also is responsible for EU funds and economic policies.

Vassileva added that her ministry would reduce environmental fees for new cars and increase those for old cars, in order to stimulate the use of vehicles that pollute the air less.

The ministry would also help municipalities improve their air quality programs, and implement measures such as installing filters on chimneys of homes, she added.

The percentage of Bulgaria's population living in contamination levels for fine particulate matter (PM10) above the admissible concentrations is 51 percent, government data shows.

According to the government, the main sources of pollution are the emissions from solid fuels combustion for heating in the winter, supplemented by emissions from increased traffic and congestion in the biggest cities.

From 50 to 60 percent of the population uses wood and coal for heating, and most cars are outdated, the data show.(PNA/Xinhua)

JBP/PJN

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