Towards a new sustainable economy of Ploiești

Doina-Elena TOMA


Article 35 of the Romanian Constitution guarantees ”the right to a healthy environment”. Looking at the particular case of Ploiești, the most important city in Prahova county, one could say that this article refers to every Romanian, except those living here.

Odd things happen in Ploiești, a city under the blessing as well as the curse of the ”black gold” – oil. People are more and more anxious about the high level of air pollution and recent data extracted from the statistics of the Public Health Department in Prahova only came to amplify their concerns. The lack of continuous measurements of air pollution empowers the rumours about dubious arrangements between local authorities and main polluters.

Since the communist era, when it was the second city in Romania by the value of the industrial production, the city of Ploiești has changed. Many of the colossal factories are forever gone and with them their huge negative impact on the environment. However, many things still need to change, because the way we see things has changed. Nowadays, the information is easier to access wherever we are, and people learn fast to turn this to their advantage.

Many cities in Romania have managed to surpass their industrial grey past and step into a greener future: Cluj, Oradea or Brașov are just three examples. Although problems never cease to appear, the commitment of the authorities to citizens’ interests is very important.

Political leaders of Ploiești must acknowledge that a city without oil is conceivable, while a city without people is an absurdity. The simple things that the local authorities need to do is to assure the population about their commitment and good intentions (continuous measurements, studies on the relationship between air pollution and cancer mortality), to control and regulate the potential sources of air pollution (first of all industry, then transport and household activities), and, most of all, hear the voice of the people!