Karin Dobersberger: It's not just traffic on the roads that pollutes - clothes pollute, too

"The city of Vienna must breathe - climate measures in the city" - is the motto of Vienna First district councillor Karin Dobersberger. 

Ms. Dobersberger is part of the Social Democratic Party of Austria. The Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) is the oldest existing political party in Austria. Along with the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), it is one of the two traditional major parties in the country. It is positioned in the center-left part of the political spectrum. Karin Dobersberger states on the party's website that she is committed to a comprehensive, unified climate concept - clearly adapted to the needs of the inner city area, such as the greening of facades, roof gardens, tree planting, traffic concept, "cool" city - or figuring "green shade" of public spaces. These measures, according to her, not only prevent the heating of the city air but also have a positive impact on the quality of life and well-being of people in the city, taking into account the interests and needs of all target groups.

BGNES spoke with Karin Dobersberger at the Sofia Fashion Week and the topic, in addition to sustainable fashion, of course, continued in the direction of ecology, urban air, bike lanes, and changing consciousness.

Mrs. Dobersberger, thank you very much for giving BGNES News Agency this interview. It's great to see you at Sofia Fashion Week. But we're going to speak not about fashion. We're going to speak about something connected with fashion. You're a district councillor in Vienna and working with... Actually, could you please present yourself, and say more about yourself?

Yes, I'm in the first district - a district councillor. Our plan is for the environment. We start projects to reduce the traffic in Vienna and then also in the culture commission. We funded young artists and yes, that's the main task in Vienna.

And the second profession is in the labour union. I'm working there and oversee 74 collective agreements.

So you're actually very much into taking care of good working conditions and taking care of the environment?

Yes, working conditions, equality, and fair treatment. Yes, this is my task.

Very good! In this aspect, actually, fashion is very much connected. And is everybody speaking about "green" fashion, sustainability, and taking care of the environment? And this also is very much connected to the good working conditions of the people. Actually, the workers.

Child labour is the biggest problem in industrial production - not in Austria, but in the poorer countries over the world.

There is, actually recently and for the past few years, a very big movement in the European Union, in the Parliament and in the Commission, which is connected with sustainable fashion, and recycling of clothes. This is all connected. What do you think - how far should politics go to ensure that we live in a better world without wasting too much of our clothes and our resources? How far should politics go? Should we put more laws and more law enforcement?

In Austria, we are stronger than here. We have a law for waste management, to separate waste. Yes, and also for the traffic.

In the First District (of the City of Vienna - editor's note) in 2025, we want to reduce cars. You can come to the First District only for half an hour. Then you must leave or find a parking place in an underground parking garage. And we are working in this direction. It's very much connected actually, with how the workforce is taken care of. It's also very important, the public transport. You must bring the people on public transport. We have many, many bicycles and bike lanes. There are many people who drive bicycles here in Bulgaria, in Sofia. There are also bike lanes. But I didn't see a person who drives, who rides a bicycle.

Yes, it's nothing compared with Vienna, let alone with Amsterdam, which is ...

Amsterdam is great. Bicycles everywhere. There is no car. And I think in Sofia everybody has a car or two cars. Yes. Because there's much traffic. I would like to see it reduced, as it is better for the environment and to avoid pollution.

What is your message to future generations about preserving our planet and the environment? Is it one of the most important questions we will face in the next, I don't know, 25 years already for the next generation?

I have three children. And we have discussions with the children. They must change their lifestyle. Yes? Everybody must change their lifestyle. The heating, for example. The heating in Vienna, in my bureau, in my business, I have last year 22 degrees. This year we lowered it to 19 degrees. We must reduce heating. We must reduce fossil materials. We must be careful. Yes? The traffic, the clothes. You have spoken about the clothes. There must be a change. Yes, but not only with the law. The people must accept. They must know it. Change their mindset. They must change their minds. /BGNES