Bucharest residents are “inhaling poison” environment minister tells mayor

Environment Minister Costel Alexe has lashed out at the mayor of Bucharest saying that residents of the Romanian capital were “inhaling poison,” a reference to recent high levels of pollution reported in the city.

Mayor Gabriela Firea earlier told Alexe to move out of the capital of 2 million if he didn’t like it. He retorted she should move to Bucharest from her home about 20 kilometers northeast of the city.

“You tell me to move out of Bucharest if I don’t like it that it is extremely polluted and generating municipal waste,” Alexe said on Facebook on Wednesday. “Maybe if you lived in Bucharest you’d care more about the appalling traffic and the pollution.”

“Esteemed lady, Bucharest residents are basically ‘inhaling poison,’ that’s what pollution is; slow poison. You should have done something about it in the 3 ½ years you’ve been mayor.” Firea, of the Social Democratic Party, announced she will seek a second term as mayor in local elections this year.

The minister who’s a member of the governing Liberal Party said Firea had failed to tackle municipal waste, with Bucharest producing one million tons of waste annually, out of a total of six million tons nationwide.

His comments came as a report said that Romania faced an infringement procedure from the European Commission over its failure to address the problem of municipal waste in recent years. Bucharest is considered a major problem.

The report said that landfills around Romania’s big cities are “bombs” for the environment and for public health, according to the preliminary conclusions of a recent internal report by the Commission, the, G4Media site reported.

But Firea claimed that she had taken steps to improve air quality, which she said was the fourth most polluted city in Romania, and not the most polluted city as it had previously been.

On Saturday evening, the Agency to Protect the Bucharest Environment reported pollutions levels of 300 to 400 % more than the permitted levels in parts of the capital. Airly.eu an agency which measures air quality said pollution levels exceeded usual levels by 200 % to almost 700 %.


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