Natural-Geographical Analysis and Socio-Economic Characteristics of the Cross-Border Area in the Republic of Bulgaria – Country Assessment Report

As part of the activities of project „Identification and Monitoring of Contaminated Soils using Innovative Methodology“, with acronym MCSoil, a natural-geographical analysis and socio-economic characteristics of the cross-border area in the Republic of Bulgaria was developed. The basic goal of the analysis report is the selection of suitable sites for implementation of an innovative methodology for identification and monitoring of contaminated soils through magnetic susceptibility values.

The report is developed on the basis of theoretical, statistical and empirical data, aimed at analyzing and recommending two specific test areas from the cross-border region of the Republic of Bulgaria, where a new methodology for environmental assessment of the condition of the soil cover would be developed and implemented. The two specific zones are the territory around the Bobov Dol Thermal Power Plant, belonging to an industrial polluted  and the territory of „Choklyovo Wetland“, falling under the protection of Natura 2000.

The presence of heavy metals in the soils is a serious environmental problem that directly affects human health and life. The presence of heavy metals in soils may be a result of various factors. Due to the executed analysis and considering the increased public interest in the functioning of Bobov Dol TPP, precisely the area around the thermal plant is to be used as a test site for the development of the new methodological approach.

The development of a new, more accessible methodology for monitoring the content of heavy metals in soil cover would present to the local communities a new tool for civil control over the activities of the government agencies that are responsible for protecting and controlling the quality of the environment.

The methodological framework for the analysis of the degree of soil contamination by magnetic susceptibility also includes the selection of an area which is not subject to anthropogenic pressure. The proposed area should have a similar geological structure and similar soil cover characteristics.  In contrast to the territory around the Bobov Dol TPP, the territory of the Choklyovo Wetland which is under protection of Natura 2000 is characterized by a low degree of industrialization, a lack of main roads and large urban areas. These differences in the anthropogenic load are opposite to the similar natural geographic, geological and soil settings.

The full text of the report is available here.