For the fourth consecutive year prizes were awarded to the participants in Ecoobshtina (Eco-municipality) - a competition organized by the French Institute and the Embassy of France in Bulgaria. The competition encourages environmental civil and institutional initiatives for sustainable urban development, which allows bilateral cooperation and exchange of experience between Bulgarian and French municipalities, NGOs and training centers.
In awarding the fourth consecutive prizes the newly appointed Ambassador of France in Bulgaria, Her Excellency Florence Robine, stressed the importance of the initiative and its development as an element in resolving the global issues of the planet’s development.
This year the focus of Ecoobshtina and the participants in the competition was on the small municipalities with a population of less than 10,000 residents. The municipalities Smyadovo, Sapareva Banya, Dragoman, Novo Selo, Lesichovo and Antonovo received recognition with projects in the area of energy efficiency.
Veolia received special merit from among the companies participating from the very beginning in the Ecoobshtina initiative, contributing to the exchange of specialists in the water, waste processing and energy sectors. Through its water company Sofiyska Voda, in 2019 Veolia gave the opportunity to 60 young people from Blagoevgrad, Varna, Veliko Tarnovo, Vidin, Kavarna, Kazanlak, Karlovo, Plovdiv and Parvomay to generate interesting ideas for resolving environmental issues during the conducted Summer Academy in the Vrachanski Balkan.
“The proposal of the students from Prof. Asen Zlatarov High School in the city of Vidin, provoked my particular interest in their project: "Water Is Life! Protect Life!”, said Francois Debergh, Director of Veolia for the Balkans, after the official ceremony, where the participants in the annual competition were awarded. “The proposed floating robot for studying water pollution and collecting plastic waste is an innovative idea, which fully meets Veolia’s motto: Resourcing the World! and one of the focuses of our industrial activity – waste recovery. We are proud that we support the Ecoobshtina initiative, which keeps evolving!”, Mr. Debergh stated.
The other awarded projects, generated in the summer eco-academy, were equally interesting. The students from the high school of fine arts in the city of Plovdiv proposed the creation of an electronic game encouraging the reasonable, responsible (environmentally sound) consumption and education through the game for the kids and the young people.
The students from the Vocational School of Agriculture "Vasil Levski" in Parvomay proposed a system for utilization of the compost from the mowing of the green areas and the maintenance of the gardens and trees in their schoolyard. Ecopulse Club in Kavarna came up with an idea to generate energy from the compost of the seaweed thrown by the sea. The participants from the Vocational School of Forestry and Woodworking “Nikolay Haytov” – Varna thought over the creation of a system that informs people about the environmental consequences of the pollution of the water, soil, plants and the ambient air. The jury that evaluated the projects during the academy believed that the project for the creation of Ecobot of the students from “Vasil Levski” High School in Plovdiv had a great potential. They developed a device that calculates the cost of the waste upon its handing over.
It will provide a QR code (voucher) for discounts in stores, eco-packages or an option to donate.
The annual Ecoobshtina Competition is conducted under the honorary aegis of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria together with the Ministry of Environment and Water, the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works and the French Embassy, with the constant support of Veolia in Bulgaria. Besides the categories for the small municipalities and for the connection of the educational institutions with the environment, there are two more categories that give opportunities for the participation of NGOs with environmental and sports orientation.