The attempts of the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water to construct a centralised facility for managing hazardous wastes - the National waste treatment center - date back to 2000. The selected site is located in the Stara Zagora region, which is heavily polluted by intensive industrial activities: coal mining and three coal-fired power plants.
The geographic distribution of industrial hazardous waste sources in the countryt is such that between 90% and 97% of the waste generated would come from outside the Stara Zagora Region, and most of them are situated at significant distances to the proposed location of the NHWC. Apart from greatly increasing the risk of accidents during transportation of the waste, this fact also indicates a skewed distribution of the unwanted products of the social metabolism that is tends to happen away from more affluent regions such as Sofia (accounting for 30-50% of hazardous wastes generated) and into an area that, although relatively well-off economically, has been formally categorised by the authorities as an environmental pollution hotspot where there is increased health risk due to air pollution.
Local initiative committees organized in the five villages situated next to the project site (Kovachevo, Novoselets, Pet mogili, Radetski, Mlekarevo, Polski Gradets) with their own committees of resistance, which combined forces in a United initiative committee, headed by a local medical doctor, highlighting the enormous significance of the public health concerns expressed by local communities. The united initiative committee was backed by the regional structures of the two largest trade unions in Bulgaria, Confederation of independent trade unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) and the Confederation of labour Podkrepa, working to protect the right to safer working conditions for more than 15 000 workers in the Maritsa East energy complex. The local committees were very effective in obtaining information from local authorities, organising protests and demonstrations and expressing their opposition to the project. In their numerous letters and appeals to all levels of state authorities in Bulgaria, the United committee referred to the fact that no additional sources of pollution are needed or wanted by the local population of one of the most heavily polluted regions in the country, threatening civil disobedience in case their opinion remained unheard.
The staunch opposition of the local population backed by NGOs campaigning efforts were successful in averting international public financing (ISPA funding and EIB loan) away from this project, thus rendering it unfeasible.