The Italian cabinet is to meet later today in a bid to find a solution to the worsening rubbish crisis in Naples. Overflowing rubbish dumps and uncollected waste have led to mountains of garbage piling up in the city. Now fed-up residents are taking to the streets:
“Let’s hope the civil battle will lead us to a victory, but not a victory of the institutions but a citizen’s victory,” said one protester.
Waste collection ground to a halt before Christmas. Subsequent efforts to burn the 110,000 tonnes of rubbish lying on the streets have prompted fears of a build-up of carcinogenic dioxins.
But resolving the problem means taking on the Camorra – the regional branch of the Mafia who control the entire industry, according to Prosecutor Raffaele Cantone: “The Camorra has been involved in the business of waste disposal since the 1980s, and they have allowed a huge amount of toxic waste to accumulate. The industry is hugely profitable – we’re talking about millions of euros.”
At least three people were taken to hospital yesterday when police were sent in to re-open an overflowing landfill site in the suburb of Pianura to cope with the excess waste. Locals are convinced it poses a health risk and blocked the road leading to scuffles.
The EU has warned that the Naples situation represents a breach of disposal directives and says harsh penalties are in the offing if the crisis is not resolved quickly.