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Samokov Landfill Site


The project for landfill construction near Samokov encountered the disapproval of the local people. The new site will be a regional landfill of 4 municipalities. Local EJOs point out the project capacity of the new landfill site is too big (over 1 million tonnes of waste), raising their fears that it is done intentionally to store the waste of Sofia Municipality as well. The landfill will be located just a kilometer away from Samokov as well as close to Dragoshinovo village. Local ejos challenged the competences of the experts who had been working on the EIA.

Basic Data

NameSamokov Landfill Site
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level

Source of Conflict

Type of Conflict (1st level)Waste Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific Commodities
Domestic municipal waste

Project Details and Actors

Project DetailsThe landfill has the capacity to store over one million tones of waste from four municipalities.

Project Area (in hectares)32.7
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date02/2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesGlavbolgarstroi from Bulgaria
Relevant government actorsSamokov Municipality, Dolna Banya Municipality, Ihtiman Municipality, Kostenets Municipality, Ministry of Environment and Water
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGreen Policy Institute, Samokovtsi za Samokov, Za Zemiata, Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (failure for environmental justice)
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.People in Samokov challenge the objectivity of the Environmental Impact Assessment pointing out some very serious arguments. The new site will be located less than a kilometer away from Samokov, closer than the now existing landfill. They fear the site have been chosen inappropriately because it is located in an area with temperature inversion which will cause the dust particles, smoke and odour to spread over Samokov and the villages around. The chosen landfill site is located on a slope of a hill over a passing river with just one wall keeping the tons of waste from falling into it a possible outcome in case of emergency or accident. Moreover the region is pointed as seismically active on the geological map of Bulgaria. Another serious ecological problem is also on the agenda: Iskar River, the main water supplier of the Bulgarian capital and the longest river in Bulgaria will flow just next to the landfill.

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ContributorEvgenia Tasheva
Last update08/04/2014