Sofia – Bulgaria

Silvia Velikova - Bulgarian National radio.

Silvia is a well-known Bulgarian journalist from Bulgarian National radio, mother of 4 children.

“We need to stop taking clean air for granted because we don’t actually know what i’ts like to breathe pure and clean air. Clean air is something we need to cherish, and we have to make an effort to ensure its quality and healthiness. We have to do this not only for us, but also and especially for our children, and the future generations.”

Dr. Alexander Simidchiev – University Hospital Lozenets in Sofia

Dr. Alexander Simidchiev is a pulmonologist who for more than three decades has dedicated himself to the cause of lung health. He is one of the leading experts in pulmonary function diagnostics in Bulgaria. Having specialized in Essen-Germany and Paris-France, he is one of the first East European members of the European Respiratory Society since its founding in 1991.

We always think about the things we see, and because we do not see the air we breathe, we do not think much about it. We must try to act against air-pollution, both for ourselves and for our children and grandchildren.For me, it is very important that in 50-60 years, my grandchildren are able to breathe cleaner air than we do now.

Dr. Rada Markova - First Children's Advisory Clinic in Sofia

Dr. Rada Markova graduated medical school with the “Golden Hippocrates” (summa cum laude). In 2004 she acquired a degree in childhood diseases and in 2011 she additionally qualified as a specialist in childhood lung disease. She has specialized in the USA and Austria.

“Air is one of the most unique assets of our planet Earth, thanks to which we are alive. It is unique for both the young and the old, both for the poor and for the rich. Сhildren are particularly vulnerable to atmospheric pollution because they are still developing and growing.”

Academic Professor Dr. Bogdan Petrunov – The National Centre of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD)

Academic Professor Dr. Bogdan Petrunov is a full member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and one of the leading authorities in the field of immunology and allergology in Bulgaria.

“According to the WHO, Bulgaria is in one of the leading positions worldwide when it comes to deaths attributed to air pollution. This is not only a healthcare issue, it is a colossal social and financial problem that society needs to understand and try to overcome in all possible ways.”


Valentin Petkov - Orlov Most

Valentin Petkov is a fitness guru and multiple times European and world champion of bodybuilding. Along with his impressive competitive career, he is also a sculptor who sculpts bodies and characters.

“What excites and motivates me is to work with people to achieve overall transformation that a person can experience. I mean not only the visible change of the body from an aesthetic point of view. If a sculptor changes a piece of granite and turns it into a sculpture, for example, I can not change anything in my work if the person in front of me does not want to change. The air inspires and develops all that I work for, and as an active cyclist I take care to minimize pollution so that it allows me to achieve high physical results without harming my body.”

Anna Borisova - The National Palace of Culture

Me and my family, we live in the suburbs.  In the winter, most of the households heat with coal and wood. My 4-year old son is suffering from bronchial asthma. There are windless days every winter. During those days the air becomes so full of smoke, we can hardly go outside our house. Due to the poor air quality my son’s asthma gets worse and his attacks increase.

Most of our family friends with children have to always keep a nebulizer at home – it is so obvious that respiratory tract diseases are the most common diseases among small children and babies.  

In my opinion the problem could be easily solved. The municipalities in some regions like ours could financially stimulate households to use more effective and more eco-friendly heating systems. In my household for example, we use pellets which make no smoke and have less negative effects on the air quality.

The traffic is also a huge problem even in our far-from-the-city area. Most of the cars are more than 20-years old with no catalytic converters. That is also a great part of the pollution source.

We are all dreaming to live a healthy life and to see our children grow healthy and happy – and it would be such an easy and yet big step for the authorities to help us create and breathe better air.

Ivan Mihailov - Sofia Thermal Power Plant

A patient with bronchial asthma. The poor air quality makes his asthma worse, which puts him at higher risk of an asthma attack and lead him to the choice to become one of the cofounders of Air for Health Association.