Why do we need to make Sofia a green capital?

When a foreigner comes to Sofia for the first time, he or she is welcomed by lots of trees along the streets and greenery all around. Why, then, do we insist on making Sofia a “green capital”?!

Sofia has a serious environmental problem!

The air is often too polluted, exceeding all environmental standards and limits for fine particulate matter and dangerous gases. In April 2017 Europe’s highest court decided higher concentrations of particulate matter in Bulgaria – small dust particles blamed for breathing problems and heart disease – recorded at several sites in Bulgaria from 2007 to 2014 showed severe breaches of EU clean air quality rules. The European Commission has estimated premature deaths attributable to air pollution in 2013 at 13 700!

While smog is suffocating the city, it is just the most visible part of the general environmental problem. Hundreds of deserted places all over the city have gradually turned into illegal dump sites. Several small rivers that run through the city are quite often used as wastewater channels. A lot of the small gardens in between the apartment blocks are conquered by cars.

Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, is home of some 1,2 million citizens.

On the other side Sofia has vast natural resources! The city is surrounded by five mountains. Two rivers are running through the city. Hot thermal springs are gushing at several central locations. The land beneath is fertile enough to be used for agriculture. The whole area enjoys a lot of sunshine throughout the year.

Sofia needs a progressive vision for environmental development.



The “Sofia – Green Capital” initiative aims to engage all the public and political attention, energy and resources to completely transform Sofia: from being one of the cities with the worst environmental indicators in Europe to a truly ecological “green” city with an ambitious sustainable development policy that can turn it into a regional green leader.

In late 2015 the participants in the initiative created a major program, consisting of different goals, projects and measures, that can transform the city from a peripheral to Europe “provincial” capital into a green leader with a bright identity, all within 5-7 years. The platform was addressed to the City Council of Sofia but also to the society as a whole.

Through this initiative we aim to start progressive projects with a major impact on the urban environment, ecology and therefore – on our health and overall happiness.

We consider the enormous natural capital of Sofia as a resource that can be the basis for building up a new city identity for Sofia, one that can distinguishing it in the global competition of the world’s top greenest cities.

The sustainable development of our city can be taken as a priority in all activities of both the city government and the civil society. This can be determined by the adoption of the Green Charter of Sofia – a fundamental document that defines the overall concept of the long-run ecological development of Sofia.

Why do we want to make Sofia a green city?

Urban farming means LIVELYHOOD

Communication with the Earth PROLONGS LIFE

Green zones give opportunities for SPORT

Green zones strengthen the local BIODIVERSITY

Recycling provides RAW MATERIALS for more affordable new products

Composting helps the BEAUTY of the city

Renewable sources provide INDEPENDENCE from the centralized power system – important in disaster situations

Shared cars provide more spare URBAN SPACES



The “Sofia – Green Capital” initiative consists of 29 NGOs, citizens’ initiatives and industrial associations: