Today, Oct. 15, is Blog Action Day for environment and I find it an excellent occasion to write this post that has lingered for some time in my head.
It is strange how knowledge alters the way we look at things. At http://bgnature-blacklist.bravehost.com/index-en.html, you will find the English version of a document titled Black list of companies, organizations and individuals destroying Bulgarian nature. It is anonymous, for good reason. It contains no links, but I have cross-checked some of its statements with other sources and found them to be true.
The first entry in the Black List is as follows:
"Aleksander (Alexander) Kravarov - Mayor of the town of Bansko who advised the residents to poach openly if Pirin National Park is included in Natura 2000; together with Ulen Company created the Bansko Ski Zone inside Pirin National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site."
The town of Bansko is featured below. It is the first entry in the section "Resorts with irreversibly devastated natural environment":
"Bansko: formerly an architecture reserve town, now a city illegally spreading to the town of Razlog and inside Pirin National Park."
One of my very first blog posts, Bansko and the modernization of Bulgaria, was about a short vacation in this town. My impression of it was quite good, despite some nostalgia for the old days of modest development. Indeed, I am not a fan of ski racing and didn't leave the town, so I couldn't know first-hand about its effect on the mountain of Pirin. So I advised the British (and other) tourists to come to Bansko. Now I would advise them to stay away, so that not to benefit Ulen company. To cap it all, I am sure that Bansko residents will not benefit for long from the development of the ski zone, because global warming will have the final word.
Let's see another person from the Black List:
"Dimitar Zorov - owner of Parshevitsa dairy. His company is the main culprit to blame for the destruction of Vratsa Balkan Nature Park. It pollutes the rivers of the park with sewage waters from the dairy, damaged the road to Parshevitsa hut, constructed illegally farm buildings and hotels and interferes with the normal pedestrian tourism in the area."
I used to buy Parshevitsa dairy products, but I don't intend to do it anymore and advise my readers to boycott Zorov's company as well. There are many other good dairy producers in Bulgaria.
The Black List contains also entries about seaside hotels and whole resorts (too numerous to list). I advise all tourists planning a sea vacation in Bulgaria to check the Black List before choosing their exact destination. Below, I am translating parts of Krastyo Krastev's essay I am a patriot - I am vacationing in Greece, published in the Sept. 14 issue of the saritical paper Starshel:
"Perhaps you wonder what this insolent title intends to say. I'll explain. Officials from the National Tourism Agency complained that last year 1 million Bulgarians prefered to have their summer vacations in Greece and Turkey and spent EUR 600 million in the foreign resorts. Eh well, in the present year these Bulgarians are likely to be even more numerous and I am one of them. I have just reterned from the beaches under Mount Olympus and I'll tell you that one must be crazy to pay 124 leva per day for all inclusive at Zlatni Pyasatsi when he can spend 7 days at Chalkidiki, Greece, for 365 leva... Seven days without chalga (popular awful Bulgarian music - M.M.) and mutri (thugs - M.M.) in Greece, how nice! You haven't to pay in order to enter the beach, bull-like young men with triangular heads don't force you to rent a sunshade or a chaise-longue and the sidewalkes are the best I've seen for years... The Greeks know that order and peace bring money. So do the nice hotels with no more than 4 storeys, the flowers, the greenery, the cleen sand without watermelon peels and cigarette ends, the quiet nights without noise from discos... No insolent prostitutes pulling your sleeve, no women thieves in the buses, no Hammer Jeeps at the beach. Therefore I think that every Bulgarian who vacations abroad is a patriot! If there are more such people, the concrete jungles from Shabla to Sinemorets will become deserted and their greedy owners will finally have to keep diet!"
(Shabla and Sinemorets are resorts at the north and south end of Bulgarian Black Sea coast, respectively.)