George Kremlis: Circular economy will make tourism sustainable

  • 05 август 2017, 16:26
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Tourism in Bulgaria has become a substitute for heavy industry, which is why it needs serious advertising. This was stated by George Kremlis, head of the Cohesion Policy and Environmental Impact Assessment Unit in the Directorate-General for the Environment of the European Commission. He took part in a discussion on the topic "For Cleaner Sea Tourism", organized by the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria (KRIB) and the Portal of Bulgarian Municipalities -, in the conference hall of Burgas Municipality today.

In Kremlis words, Bulgaria, in the person of its Minister of Tourism - Nikolina Angelkova, is working actively to promote itself as an attractive destination.

"The trend in Europe is to impose circular, closed tourism. This is a guarantee for creating prerequisites for sustainable development of the sector. Currently, the circular economy is a key priority in the EC, not just in the field of tourism. It will create a tourism sector that will be related to biodegradable waste, " the expert explained.

Under EU requirements, by 2020, our country must have recycled 50% of all recyclable waste, and by 2030 this percentage must increase to 70%.

Kremlis explained that waste management is of the utmost importance for the Black Sea region. As an example, he pointed out that a large all-inclusive hotel generates about two kilos of waste per person daily, 60% of the waste is biodegradable.

"This is why it is so important that the waste is separated in the hotels. When the circular economy is introduced, waste will no longer be seen as trash that will be buried somewhere. The goals at European level are to reduce this burying to a maximum of 10%. All waste products will be seen as secondary raw materials that can be beneficial," said Kremlis.

There is an idea to collect food waste directly from the kitchens of hotels; some of the waste will be placed in pressure containers and other will turn into biogas. This in turn will lead to the opening of new jobs in companies that will handle the waste management. There is already a working system in Cyprus where mobile facilities go to hotels and waste recycling takes place on the spot.

According to Kremlis, special attention should be paid to sewerage facilities along the Black Sea coast. He believes that the Black Sea needs plans for tertiary treatment of wastewater.

The goal of the closed circular economy is for the wastewater to be processed and reused - for cleaning sailing vessels, for agricultural purposes, etc.

"Of course, all this requires funding. But because of Brexit, the next financial period will be more limited. To implement all these water measures, Bulgaria needs EUR 5 billion, and the EU can provide about EUR 1 billion, " Kremlis said.

He pointed out that this process should start from the bottom up - from the municipalities to the state authority, and everywhere the priorities should be very clearly outlined.