The Bulgarian capital, Sofia, becomes the first large city in Eastern Europe to have a low-emission zone, an EPZ. Like what is already being done elsewhere, this initiative was put in place to combat air pollution caused mainly by road traffic.
Sofia is the first city in Eastern Europe to have chosen a low-emission zone, where the most polluting vehicles are now excluded. This zone is already deployed in a large part of the capital’s city center and is expected to expand in the coming years.
Initially, only access to the most polluting vehicles, that is to say those dating from before 2006, is prohibited. Newer vehicles must nevertheless have a certificate of conformity to be authorized to drive in the area. At the same time, awareness campaigns have also been launched to encourage the use of public transport and cleaner alternatives such as cycling or simply walking. All these measures are intended to significantly reduce CO2 and fine particle emissions in the city. They should also help relieve traffic congestion and reduce the level of noise pollution.
This initiative is notably supported by the Clean Air Fund, an international philanthropic organization which finances numerous projects to reduce air pollution. Concerning Sofia, she estimates that this decision should help reduce CO2 emissions by around 10% and those of fine particles by 5%.
In the future, the Municipality of Sofia also plans to implement measures to reduce pollution from domestic heating, the other major source of CO2 emissions in the city’s air.