A long line of SUVs and pieces of junk: this is how the July Morning celebration in 2020 looks like. Automobiles, bikes and campers are parked on the cliffs, so close to the edge that it seems they have stopped seconds before the drop. This probably is a source of pride for the lovers of July Morning. The drones of the morning news blocks showed an area full of motor vehicles. The good news is that this is indeed a cliff and not a slide area, because with this attempt to go “first line” much tin would roll to the sea itself!
The weird thing was that the reporters were cheerfully commenting the presence of enthusiasts waiting for the sunrise and interviewing people who were talking about the exceptional emotion, but none of them seemed to notice that the event is taking place on an illegal parking lot.
All around the world people are welcoming the sunrise in nature. Sometimes they go on gruelling treks, walking for hours at night and then, thanks to their efforts, they end up there, where everyone entrusts their hopes to the first rays of the sun.
The welcoming of the symbolic morning in the middle of a crowded parking lot is cynical, ugly and repulsive.
There is scarcely any other country that is enjoying such a phenomenal view but is failing to find a single mechanism to instil order and stop the violence against nature. The perpetrators are aggressively and insolently taking over the terrain with their cars, to wherever their tires can roll. The “first line” is so important in the minds of the Bulgarians that they are ready to block the whole coastline with their cars in the name of watching the iconic sunrise from the vehicles.
This is not a celebration, but a summary of irreconcilable barbarity, total lack of culture and obvious disrespect for the thing that is supposed to matter: nature.
Let us speculate for a moment what would happen if all campers, SUVs, motorbikes and normal cars were parked 500 meters away from the cliff and only people stood close to the edge? Is it exciting to sit in the warm interior of your car for hours, blocking “your” place, to get out at the last moment and score a July? And the high rollers with the campers are better off than anybody else!
The strange thing is that most of these people are avid protesters against the development of the seaside, the concrete, the encroachment of people. On the other hand, they have nothing against being able to reach any place with their cars.
If anyone tries to take that right away from them, they start screaming that the local authorities are illegally making up their own rules, that thousands of pregnant women, disabled persons, young children and elderly citizens have been robbed of the right to enjoy a sunrise, a sunset or a beach.
The July aggression expressed through the motor vehicle invasion up to the edge of the cliff is a common symptom for all Bulgarians that think that nothing in the world can take away their right to spend their vacation in close proximity – ideally between one and three meters – from their personal car.
And if Kamen Bryag is not enough of a proof, three days ago at the bay of Bolata, another SUV waded in the water. In previous years tractors have been called in to pull them out, but this year the driver managed to get out on his own.
A past attempt of the municipal authorities to stop the influx of cars to this beautiful bay was countered by the vigorous support of the protesters by newscasters from different televisions. Then again it turned out that “all pregnant women, elderly persons, babies, disabled persons and foreigners” cannot leave their cars at a parking lot and walk for about a kilometre to the beach.
This year the feistiest camper owners have moved across the beach and settled on top of the cliffs that are a part of the beach itself.
This area is now off-limits to other vacationers, because it is occupied by the private homes on wheels. No one can take a photo of the bay without any cars in the picture. The vehicles literarily occupy the beach curve to the last centimetre. And it appears that there is no institution that can sanction them.
The automobile terror is the real pollution problem of the seaside.
The view of the crowded cars on Kamen Bryag is an integral part of the waywardness called “wild camping” which entails total destruction of naturally beautiful spots.
Maya Manolova, who, sadly, did not have any luck with her new endeavours, is also trying to wedge herself in the game with the greens. She is persistent in looking for a cause that may attract supporters. The Constitutional Court however cut her ambitions, together with the anarchistic groups orbiting Democratic Bulgaria.
On 16 June 2020 the Constitutional Court rejected the appeal of Maya Manolova and her loud supporters for annulment of provisions in the Black Sea Coast Development Act (BSCDA) that stipulates the designation of areas for putting up tents and parking camper vans and caravans. The protests were in fact against the resistance of the private property owners who have kept their lands in their natural state rather than developing them but do not want to have their plots thrashed on a yearly basis by people with tents, caravans, cars and various equipment.
With its opinion, the Constitutional Court confirms that the provisions of the BSCDA protecting the property of municipalities and private and legal persons remain in force. Tourism under the sky, be it in with a motor home, tent or simply a mattress can be practiced only in areas categorized for this purpose.
Many people in Bulgaria reacted that the price of BGN 6000 per season for staying at a professionally built camping site is insane. At the same time, there is a waiting list for this service. Therefore, this is a price that the market is inclined to pay.
The state cannot interfere with the price formation in the market community, but it can specify certain conditions and requirements to ensure that the nature is protected and no rights are violated.
In this connection: the right to free movement is a constitutional right.
Driving your car and sleeping wherever you like is not a constitutional right; this is arbitrary rule.
Everyone is free to go to the beach, but no one can decide on their own whether to park the car a meter behind the inflatable mattress which they will take in the sea.
The sanctions provided in the BSCDA are fines from BGN 2000 to BGN 5000, and from BGN 10 000 to BGN 20 000 for gross offences. Depending on the severity of the violation against nature the fine may reach BGN 60 000.
Wild camping is prohibited in Greece and the Bulgarians learned that the hard way: with fines and even arrests, when they tried to explain to the Greek police the same things they have been selling to the Bulgarian police. Because Greece has 11 000 km of coastline and does not want any of it to turn into a cloaca. Violations can be punished with 3-months in prison. Starting a fire at an arbitrary place costs EUR 2000, while parking a camper van on the beach may cost EUR 3000.
One could point out that wild camping is allowed in some Scandinavian countries. Well, if you like to sleep in the cold under the rain, you can take advantage whenever you please. But you have to get there first.
In the summer of 2020, despite of the crisis, the beaches of Bulgaria were overrun by tents. Some enthusiasts at the beach of Karadere were fined with amounts between BGN 500 and BGN 1000, the BNT reported.
The owners of forty caravans and camper vans arbitrarily placed their vehicles straight on the sand. Out of shame, they brought their own chemical toilet, although it was not unfitted for use and the approach of hiding in the bushes was quite common.
The inspection at Vromos beach showed hundreds of cars parked literarily on the beach and caravans scattered in disarray. The situation will remain the same until the end of summer.
The locals’ comment that the invasion and the feeling of impunity of the aggressors on the beaches is far more serous a problem than the building of anything on “the first line”. It may sound ludicrous, but it seems that the development of the coastal zones is actually saving them from the vandalism of the “nature lovers”.
At this point, the least problem is the potential for infection. The aggression of the motorized barbarians can outlive any virus.
The municipalities, the Regional Health Inspectorates, the Regional Inspectorates of Environment and Water, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Tourism and the police are equally helpless.
When police enter one of those slums, everyone jump to their feet to record with their phones and send the clips to the televisions. The media are aching for a scandal and, regardless of the unprincipled position of the vacationers with tailpipes on the beach or in the forest, it turns out that some nice folks have been robbed of their right to simply choose which part of the land of Bulgaria to use as they see fit.
With the active participation of the media the access of motor vehicles to the beach of Bolata was blessed. Again, with media support any attempt to establish control over arbitrary rule in nature fails. And so, in Bulgaria we are witnessing the absurdity of caravans parked directly on the side of the road. Such nonsense does not exist anywhere else in the world, not even in the African countries.
The belief that “I have my own rights and no one can touch me, when I decide that I have a certain right” is the root of the destruction on the Black Sea coast.
Modern beach hygiene
The vandals are even happy about the reproach and indignation they cause. They are ready to fight if you tell them that what they are doing is insolent and vulgar. They are the rebels who jump half-naked at the police and the representatives of the institutions and scream hysterically that they have been robbed of their right to… health, love, peace, view, happiness, unconcern, rest, pop folk…
Every time the police find drugs during a search of a bivouac, the mantra is that the dope has been planted to force the people to leave the place, although they settled there illegally to begin with.
As if our own institutional feebleness and stupidity is not enough, people from neighbouring countries – Romania, Serbia and Macedonia – arrive to take advantage. “In Bulgaria you can do anything and you will not hear a word from the authorities, even if you are violating clearly stipulated laws.”
This is how vacation looks at the expense of nature and on someone else’s property, as long as it is close to the sea.
The authorities must make the firm decision to fine all offenders with caravans, tents and camper vans in the same way they would sanction a person at the border inspection post of Kulata with unpaid administrative acts. Otherwise nothing will ever start to change. The insolence is obvious and known, but it is not untouchable. It is a matter of the state’s will to handle the beach and nature aggressors.
In order to keep the enthusiasm, however, the Association of Parks in Bulgaria and the Balkani Society announced a contest titled Defenders of Nature for proposals for new protected territories and centuries-old trees in the country. This means that anyone able to point at a less popular old tree can initiate another prohibition in an unknown radius around the tree, including existing paths, infrastructure facilities and even settlements.
The green Taliban have been called “to duty” and the order says:
“The civil campaign is open for proposals for areas from the whole country to be protected for the future generations as national and human heritage. The non-governmental organizations are giving the following examples: valuable habitats of rare and endangered animal and plant species, unique natural formations, deciduous forests in plains, centuries-old coniferous and beech forests in the mountains, karst springs, bat caves, etc.”
The spiders, bugs and plant lice have been politely left out, but they will appear when their time comes.
Bulgaria is the country with the unbelievable share of 34% of its territory in NATURA 2000. The average for the developed European countries is 10%. Here, the mantra is that no other country in Europe or in the world possesses our biodiversity and so, if possible, we could increase the percentage to 50, for example.
Last year Brussels announced that a number of serious mistakes have been made during the determination of the territories in NATURA throughout the European Union and, in the majority of cases these mistakes are to the benefit of particular lobbies. These lobbies are competing for the appropriation of grants amounting to hundreds of millions of Euros. They use the money to protect areas that do not need conservation or protection. Therefore, after the NGOs completed their field research, they did not present the results to the state, because this was not required by law. On the other hand, the concerned parties have no one to complain to.
This is why the initiative of the new series for finding places to protect warns in advance that if a centuries-old tree is on the territory of a private owner, it must be protected and the owner has to accept all measures needed for its protection.
This is care for the environment for nature lovers. Apparently, the tree is not classified under NATURA and does not have any valuable bugs.
Why isn’t there a single program for the protection of beaches and forests from motor vehicles, for conservation of Kamen Bryag, the cliffs of Bolata, any place where Bulgarians and foreigners alike are arbitrarily destroying nature and private property?
Because no one has ever profited a cent from the protection of sand, cliffs and insignificant woodlands. No money – no protection.
The small imitations of protests with regard to several beaches occur only when something is about to be built there and never when the same place is used as a shanty town, be it green, eco, natural or whatever it is called.
July, smelling like gasoline, rolls into August in the shade of automobile tins and continues for as long as possible. The ecologists don’t care because no one has secured money for prohibiting the access of cars in nature.