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Green Capital - Investment in the environment for Bucharest

Intact Professional Debates thanks to all partners and participants who have contributed to the success of this event!

The debate "Green Capital. Investing in Environment for Bucharest" was organized by Intact Media Group and wassupported by Iridex Group, Constructii Erbasu and Romprest

The Green Capital project is one of the priorities of the Bucharest City Hall with about 60 million euros allocated for environmental protection in the 2017 budget. "The city must breathe," said Gabriela FIREA, the city's chief, in the Intact Media Group forum opening.

The entire article can be downloaded from here: Green Capital - Investment in the environment for Bucharest



Agglomeration and pollution are the two main problems affecting the living standards of the inhabitants of any major city in the world and whose resolution involves measures to improve air quality, green areas in the urban environment and green waste management. Unfortunately, at this time, independent studies place Bucharest on the first place in a top of the most polluted cities on the continent. The measurements made over time have revealed that the air inspired by the inhabitants of the largest city in Romania is affected by huge amounts of pollutants and dust, the level of emissions being one of the most important proofs of the fact that at this time the Capital does not fulfill one of the European Union's most important rules: providing an area of ​​26 square meters of green space per every citizen. As the situation becomes critical and the European Union institutions threaten to impose important financial sanctions, the current administration of the capital started up an ample process of consultation both with central authorities and non-governmental organizations and private companies in order to elaborate and implement a plan on medium and long time for the Capital's air "cleaning”. The main solutions proposed in these consultations - investments and projects for environmental protection, extension of green spaces, selective collection and landfilling of waste, as well as the capitalization of the Văcăreşti Natural Park - were the main topics of discussion in the forum "Green Capital. Investing in the Environment for Bucharest ", organized by INTACT Media Group and moderated by Alessandra STOICESCU.

The Green Capital project is one of the priorities of Bucharest City Hall with approximately € 60 million allocated for environmental protection in the 2017 budget. "The city has to breathe" said Gabriela FIREA, the Bucharest’s mayor, at the opening of Intact Media Group. The parks are the main source to generate the clean air to which the inhabitants of Bucharest are entitled. The Mayor explained the reasons why the capital was unable to provide clean air to its citizens: "In the period 2001- 2013, the capital lost 36 hectares of land in parks and 23 hectares of green areas and lands where playgrounds are arranged by retrocession. A court order must be respected but we have made the decision to try to recover these lost areas said Gabriela Firea. The General Mayor announced that he is already working to correct this situation: "We will try to find a legal solution that the new owners to either receive other land in exchange or sell them to the City Hall at a reasonable price."  The General Mayor said that the municipality will implement a technological solution for permanent monitoring of the air quality. "We will implement an operational system for the management of the air quality in the near future which will help us to know the levels of atmospheric pollutants in real time and we will be able to issue information / alerts to the population. We will place monitoring stations in areas considered to be subject of pollution. 25 stations will be stationary, 9 stations will be relocatable and 20 equipment for indicative measurements. The stationary stations will be located in the hospitals, schools, parks and recreation areas (...) Through this data telemetry system we will be able to find at any given moment the degree of pollution and we will be able to transmit this information to the institutions that can take action."

Another important point in the Green Capital program is the implementation of selective waste collection, at the level of the entire area, as well as the restoration of the waste landfills in order to meet the European greening standards. "We have arrived that in 2017 only 5% of the waste to be recycled. This year, if we do not triple this figure, to reach 15%, we will receive frightening fines" said the Mayor of Bucharest who stated that by 2020 this percentage should be 50%. About possible sanctions from the European Union also spoke at the Intact Forum Madia Group Gratiela GAVRILESCU the Minister of the Environment, Deputy Prime Minister. Romania has to deal with no less than nine infringement cases in the waste management area, many projects with European funding being in danger till the solving these situations said Gavrilescu.

The Minister announced that in the next period he will negotiate with municipalities, sanitation companies, packing companies and NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGO) a plan of relevant measures so that in 2050 our country will reach the European level of zero waste. "I want this both as a Romanian citizen and as Minister of the Environment. It is a big stake when we talk about the multiannual Investment Plan on environment for the Capital. Many generations may suffer if we do not take action on a long time. As Minister of the Environment, I am concerned that Romania will no longer have problems of infringement and that Bucharest will become a true European capital and when we go on the country's roads, not to see a lot of garbage in the green spaces.”

"The Forum offered to the private companies and NGO representatives a public dialogue with Government representatives, one of the themes of the dialogue being how European funds can be used in environmental projects." Who is responsible for the fact that European funds have not been absorbed? Who is responsible for passivity?" asked Cristian ERBAŞU, General Manager of the Constructii Erbaşu Company, the Gvernment representatives, who replied:" We have to recover all the things that have not been done and put order in this country, including the environment. There are too many people who should respond to carelessness but we must consider today the starting point. Romania has the opportunity to become one of the most powerful countries, from the economic and environmental point of view." One of the proposals launched at the Green Capital Forum came from a private company that proposed resuming an older idea regarding the transformation of the voided or abandoned lands into parks.

Corneliu PASCU, president of Iridex Group, proposed that City Hall to take over an abandoned area from the border area of Bucharest: "There is a landfill, Giulesti-Sârbi, where a lot of waste was stored after the earthquake in 1977. I would propose that all this unused area of more than 700 hectares to be taken over and forested by the City Hall of Bucharest. "Replanting is a solution already used by some sector halls." We have annual plans for planting new trees. We see the logic of the perennial plants, not the pansies. Sector 6 will be the first that will present a garden on a building, "said Gabriel MUTU from 6th sector in the forum.

Până ca astfel de măsuri să poată fi realizate, în prezent există deja un exemplu de succes, Parcul Natural Văcăreşti. Noua administrație a Capitalei are de gând să valorifice potențialul celui mai mare parc urban din Europa continentală la un nivel nemaiîntâlnit până acum.

"We are talking about a gift that nature offered to Bucharest and Romania. Thanks to this place on the outskirts of the city, every inhabitant of the capital has received one more square meter of green space" said Dan BĂRBULESCU, Executive Director of the Association Văcăreşti Natural Park. "We set up the park administration, elaborate the regulation of the park and on the basis of scientific studies, the Constitution of the park" also said Bărbulescu who  announced that he is waiting for the Bucharest citizens and tourists to visit this area of 184 hectares.

Green spaces must be part of the architecture of a city. So, we can ensure a healthier future for future generations, and therefore all plans and measures by which natural resources can be used to the maximum must be a priority in the present.

Intact Professional Debates thanks to all partners and participants who have contributed to the success of this event!

The debate "Green Capital. Investing in Environment for Bucharest" was organized by Intact Media Group and wassupported by Iridex Group, Constructii Erbasu and Romprest