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Project: Diesel & Health


BAPD (Bulgarian Association for Patients’ Defense) and EPHA (European Public Health Alliance) are working together on project „Diesel & Health“.


What BAPD offers:


We will study the state of use of diesel fuel in Bulgaria. We will understand what is the ratio between cars of diesel, gasoline and electric cars. What is the percentage and the ratio between diesel cars and other types, as well as the percentage of cars in Bulgaria that meet the requirements of the European standards (Euro 1, Euro 2, Euro 3, Euro 4, Euro 5, Euro 6) year of fleet production - up to 5, 10, 15, 20 and over 20 years. Share of cars, buses and trucks. 40% of the fine particles are diesel. In Bulgaria, the annual mortality rate of fine particles is 13,700. On average about 50 people per day die of fine dust particles. The 40% of them is diesel and, given that we have the oldest car park in Europe, we assume that it will be the most worrying situation in Bulgaria from all over Europe - from fine dust particles. As well as the massive removal of catalysts after 100,000 km.


The experience of our association is related to the implementation of information campaigns to explain the European Charter of Patients' Rights (since 2007) as well as risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes, obesity, aging, cardiovascular diseases, allergies, respiratory diseases (asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), stroke and cancer. We take part in the work of the Health Commission and deliver opinions on the new proposed health-related bills and environmental bills that pass through this committee as a second commission.

The target audience is the drivers of the vehicle divided into 2 groups:
• Adults from 40-60 years, because these diseases occur around the 50th year.
• Chronic ill with non-infectious diseases.

Our association aims to work with the Ministry of Health NHIF - National Health Insurance Fund, the National Center for Public Health and Analysis, Bulgarian Medical Association and partner organizations in our organization pulmonary diseases, cardiovascular diseases and neurological diseases. We strive to work with IT specialists on creating an emergency health record, creating an innovative, air-purifying mask for daily wear with a biodegradable filter. We will make it possible to create a mobile application where our mobile phone can tell us where and how dirty the air is and whether we need to wear a mask and how much time to wear before changing the filter. Short-term exposure to dirty air predisposes to allergies and bronchitis, and long-term exposure to dirty air predisposes to serious injuries such as type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer. Thus, inconspicuous dusts are not processed and penetrate into the lungs and blood vessels. In Bulgaria, the annual mortality rate of fine particles is 13,700. On average about 50 people per day die of fine dust particles.

  • We offer the creation of an innovative air-purifying mask for everyday wear with biodegradable filter. Create a mobile app where our mobile phone can tell us where and how dirty the air is and whether we need to wear this mask, how much time we carry before changing the filter.
  • We offer treatment and protection from dirty air as short-term exposure predisposes to allergies and bronchitis and long-term exposure to dirty air predisposes to serious injuries such as diabetes type 2, stroke, cancer. These dusts penetrate the lungs and blood vessels.
    We propose to do a study of the measuring apparatus and saturation. More accurate measurement in a more limited area of the country.
  • Propose measures for municipalities, health authorities and state administrations to adequately measure and RESTRICT the use of cars that have not at least Euro 4 certificate as well as preferential policy and tax policy for cars produced up to 10 years. Stimulating the movement of gas cars and the use of hybrid and electric cars, as well as the use of cycles to move into larger cities. To prohibit the access of old diesel cars to the center of the most polluted cities in Bulgaria.
  • Develop an advocacy policy in the differential combat of diesel emissions and a sharp decrease in the fine dust particles mortality – 18 000 people per year. For example, we can assume that 800 people are killed annually from crashes.
    • We propose a review of the current laws in the medium term: the current rules on "annual technical inspections" need to be updated to detect distortions and be measured in real time, not only to use "on-board diagnostics ". The European Commission should review the "annual technical review" legislation to tighten the requirements. In particular, they need to ensure that better tests are put in place to detect software manipulation and high emissions that are possible using remote sensing measures. The other measure we offer is the connection of the measuring instruments at the points of the Automobile Administration's registration system. In real time, the speakers will be able to see the results of the review. Now there are intermediate units, printouts and manipulation options. Smoke meters, gas analyzers, brake benches will be connected directly to the system. The data from the appliances that view the car will be kept for 10 years. The purpose is to remove the requirement to carry a note at the tax check point. Make a technical passport for the car. Therefore, a more thorough review will be required at the initial registration. This technical passport should include these initial data displayed on the odometer, then - what accidents have occurred with it, what changes have been made in its design. Enter the data and what repairs it has been through. The flow of second-hand diesel engines must be limited in a way that protects the environment and complies with the rules of the single market. As a minimum, only properly installed vehicles that comply with the emission limit values ​​must be able to register in another Member State.

    • Automakers have a role to play. They should make software manipulations impossible or very difficult. Combined with better protection of other software components, this will also have advantages for road safety and will prevent, among other things, the handling of mileage. The European Parliament is currently discussing similar kilometer fraud measures that countermeasures will cost only 1 euro per vehicle.

    • Introduce eco vignettes in three different colours, indicating the degree of pollution of vehicles. The stickers should be placed during the "Annual Technical Inspection" when the corresponding categorization will be carried out according to the vehicle type and the harmful gases emitted by it. The exhaust data will be submitted directly to the Automobile Administration. We also offer a green sticker for cars that are the least polluting. Typically, Euro 5 or Euro 6 cars meet these criteria. The yellow sticker will be for Euro 3 and Euro 4 cars. The red sticker will be for the oldest cars - Euro 1 and Euro 2. There is likely to be a fourth sticker - for electric cars and hybrids. In them the pollution is zero. The colour for them is blue. In the preview stick, we suggest that a chip is also installed, where vehicle information will be entered - the registration number, the data on the pollution - will be readable remotely. This has again been done to help the municipalities. If they fit a frame through which the cars will pass, the chip will be able to read and the cars that pollute, to charge extra or limit the areas in which they can move. The chip data will be protected and not everyone will be able to read it. Urban authorities must make greater efforts to identify heavy polluting cars on roads and introduce restrictive policies - for example, Sofia may create a low-emission area and - by remote sensing - find vehicles with forged diesel particle filters and does not allow their access to the city until collisions are fixed.

    • Change the average age of cars in Bulgaria. Instead of 20 years, as it is now, change to 10 years. Of the 3.5 million vehicles registered in Bulgaria, including light commercial vehicles, buses and trucks, only around 500,000 are up to 10 years old. The Euro 5 standard for exhaust gases has been introduced since September 2009. Only about 200,000 vehicles have been registered in the Euro 6 environmentally friendly vehicle - so many are 5-year-olds registered in the country. Over the past year, over 100,000 second-hand cars have been imported in Bulgaria, with 35,000 diesel. More than half of diesel cars are over 10 years of age and average 12 times higher than current EU nitrogen dioxide allowances.

    • Proposal to Ms Fandakova's (Mayor of Sofia) team: - to analyze which junctions in Sofia have the longest waiting cycle and at the same time the most busy traffic; - Placing signs that prompt drivers to quench the engine if there is more than one minute of waiting time (may be combined with an indicator of the remaining traffic light); - Include "Road Transport Control" to enter the "Turn off engine while you wait" sign to control compliance.
    • Putting coloured stickers would allow mayors to take more effective action on air pollution in cities. They may, for example, refuse cars with a red and yellow sticker to the city center. We will give the mayors the right to judge what decision they will take in relation to the atmospheric atmosphere. We propose that fines be imposed on the removal of filters (fine particulate catalysts) - illegal, and the authorities must impose fines as provided for in national legislation - traffic police, mobile teams, car administrations (for example UK 1000 pounds), and make it public. This would have a deterrent effect if they make road emissions checks - they are also of paramount importance. If a car goes well beyond the environmental standards and is, for example, without catalysts, it will be stopped and the registration numbers removed. These cars will be re-launched after they clear the irregularities and pay their fines.

Our National event (20.06.2018)
18,000 Bulgarians die of dirty air diseases
Alzheimer had a connection with dust particles

18 000 people die every year as a result of exposure to fine particulate matter. This is what Deputy Minister of Health Svetlana Yordanova said at a round table on the fine particle damage, which was held at the Ministry of Health. According to World Health Organization data, more than 4 million people per year are lethal due to polluted air, she added. Lung carcinoma is the disease that is directly related to air pollution. According to data from the Ministry of Health so far, 2/3 of the patients are diagnosed in stages 3 and 4, which determines a very low survival rate of up to 5 years. This localization of cancer is most characteristic for the age of 55-74 years.

It appears that fine particulate matter is not only related to respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but also cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and stroke.

According to Eurostat, Bulgaria ranks 3rd in the European Union in terms of carbon dioxide growth in 2017 compared to 2016. and we are after Malta and Estonia. The biggest polluters in Europe are Germany, Britain, Italy and France. There are 400 000 cases per annum in the EU of premature death and chronic diseases caused by air pollution, with our share of 18 000. In Bulgaria's plan for improving the quality of atmospheric air, it is foreseen to tighten the exhaust gas control at the level of annual technical inspections, and data is automatically input from the measuring instruments, not manually, as is now practiced. It is expected that by 2021, after extending the agreement on the financial mechanism of the European Economic Area, Bulgaria will receive gratuitously BGN 30.5 million for projects related to environmental protection and air cleanliness.

We have reduced the level of fine particulate matter in the air in recent years, there is no reason for panic. This was said by Prof. Hristo Hinkov, Director of the National Center for Public Health and Analysis. The task of the center is to analyze the influence of these fine particles on the human body. The groups of diseases we identify are due to their elevated levels, are associated with lung cancer, fetal developmental problems, respiratory problems, cognitive problems and possibly a link to Alzheimer disease, he added.

Prof. Hinkov explained that the center has proposed regulatory measures such as stricter emission and content standards for raw materials, construction standards, and an increase in fine dust monitoring stations. From there, they also encourage the use of new cars, alternative fuels, and the mandatory use of filters and catalysts.

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