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Статия в холандски електронен ежедневник за опустошителното строителство в българските планини

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Превод: Mijke Koole
SAPAREVA BANYA
Sapareva Banya – The hikers at the mountain hut pull dirty faces. A hike through the Bulgarian Rila Mountains with the highest peak of the Balkans is wonderful. But not if the hike, like here, is passing bulldozers and blowing sand. A long row of trees has been cut. The ground is being flattened for a ski-slope and a road. “They are turning it in to a McDonalds mountain”, says a Bulgarian.

His fear is shared by a growing group of activists. The summer was characterized by demonstrations against the uncontrolled construction of buildings, lacking environmental protection and the ruining of the Black Sea Coast. On the 1stt of January this year, with joining the EU, Bulgaria had to point out which natural areas needed to be protected according EU-criteria. The concept Natura 2000-list was already finished in 2006 but the government is still studying on it, which makes the European Commission angry. According to the environmental movement this is because it gives investors the chance to continue building in the natural areas.

Environmental experts have designated one third of the country as ‘green’ and protected. The government acknowledged only half of them and rejected the coastal zone among them. “We are searching for a balance between the necessity of protecting nature and a responsible quick economic development of the region”, explains Premier Sergei Stanishev. According to a growing amount of Bulgarians, Bulgaria is not getting prettier of all the quickly build tourism facilities. Young people with good jobs are escaping the bad air in Sofia. They decry the way their country is being ruined. “We are sick of mendacious investors who are destroying the local communities”, says Milena Bokova, director of Bluelink, a foundation which is supporting environmental organizations.

In Bansko (Pirin Mountains) they were too late, acknowledges Bokova. The inhabitants were happy when investors had built a mega-ski resort. Their land was suddenly worth a lot of money and with the tourists came employment. Nobody listened to the environmental protectors.

“Meanwhile the enthusiasm has cooled down”, knows Bokova. Besides the masses of tourists, the new economic activity is also attracting criminality. And when the snow has melted, the once afforested slopes turn into erosion sensitive surfaces.

Bankso has become a bogey (nightmare) for many Bulgarians. “A throw-away package” states a spokesperson of the Green Party. “Quickly build, used and worn out”.

The activists are now focusing on the ski-complex in the Rila Mountains. The peaks of the Mountains are mentioned in the shortened list of Nature 2000. According to the activists they should therefore be ‘super protected’, but in the meanwhile the construction activities easily continue.

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