EC requests Bulgaria and Slovakia to tackle water pollution caused by nitrates29 September 2016 | 15:48 | FOCUS News Agency
Nitrates are essential for plants to grow and they are widely used as fertilisers. However, excess levels cause severe water pollution, with consequences for people's health, the economy and the environment.
In March 2013, the Commission launched an infringement procedure against the Bulgarian authorities after identifying a number of shortcomings in the country's Nitrates Action Programme, as required under the EU rules on nitrates. Although Bulgaria has now addressed a number of issues following the modification of the Nitrates Action Programme in June 2016, the country still fails to comply with key provisions, such as the land application of fertilisers and the usage limit of 170 kg N/ha/year for livestock manure. In November 2012, the Commission opened an infringement against Slovakia after identifying a number of shortcomings in the country's enactment and implementation of the EU rules on nitrates. Although Slovakia has now resolved most of the issues following the adoption of the Fertilisers Act, the country has still to designate the sufficient number of nitrate vulnerable zones and ensure that the Nitrates Action Programme complies with EU law.
Bulgaria and Slovakia have two months to inform the Commission of the measures taken to address the shortcomings; otherwise, these cases may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.
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