A petition to make the capital a place suitable for a healthy life and providing clean air for all will be presented to the newly elected mayor of Sofia as soon as he takes office.

The document was prepared by the Air for Health Association, doctors and medical students, united behind the mission to work to achieve a more favorable living environment for people. Medics warn that as a result of the highly polluted air in Sofia every year between 800 and 900 people die.

The capital has the highest levels of fine particulate matter (PM) compared to other European capitals, and air is harmful to health, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO). During the winter months, the European PM limit values are exceeded 10 times, and the levels of nitrogen dioxide are alarmingly high all year round. Just a few days ago, the European Parliament finally adopted an amendment to air quality legislation. In this way, EU air quality standards are aligned with science-based WHO guidelines, which sets stricter limits and limits by 2035 for a range of pollutants, including particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10), nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and ozone.

Short-term and long-term exposure to pollutants, as well as a number of other environmental co-factors, lead to a number of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, COPD, lung cancer, asthma, decreased lung function, negatively affects the developing brain and central nervous system, increases the risk of premature birth, reduced birth weight, development of a number of diseases in later life of children, etc.

In order to raise the issue sharply, the medics from the Air for Health medical network emphasize that the capital needs urgent change that will lead to urban transformation, and people's health will be placed at its center.
Therefore, they insist on rapid changes and the provision of:

  • Well-developed urban network with clean, accessible, convenient and environmentally friendly public transport;
  • Connected and safe bike lanes;
  • Opportunities for comfortable and safe walking;
  • More green spaces and places for outdoor sports and recreation and the cessation of excessive construction;
  • Central part with low-emission zones;
  • Regular washing of the city;
  • Restriction of car traffic around schools and kindergartens;
  • Measures to limit car traffic;
  • Compliance with the requirements for cleaning construction sites and pollution prevention measures;
  • Providing access to clean household energy solutions for people;
  • Regulating parking in neighborhoods and removing "mud areas"; Improving waste collection systems and encouraging separate waste collection;
  • Measures to reduce traffic generated noise and vibration and their propagation; Incentives and special measures for marginalised groups;
  • Open dialogue with the non-governmental sector.