Police have fired tear gas to disperse protesters blocking access to the Pianura rubbish dump in the southern Italian city of Naples. A rubbish crisis has led to 110-thousand tonnes of waste accumulating on the streets, and residents of Pianura say re-opening their dump to cope with the overflow would be a health risk.
One protester said: “This is shameful. They have known about this crisis for 14 years. Garbage can be a form of income, it can create jobs. Instead, the politicians kept the money for themselves and this is the result.”
The Camorra – the Naples Mafia – are heavily involved in the waste disposal business and solving the problem means taking them on, something Prime Minister Romano Prodi is not afraid to do:
“We shall not depend upon the blackmail of transportation, of the criminality. They control the garbage system. Now we have said we will intervene and do without you,” he said at Rome’s Palazzo Chigi.
Prodi also announced that three incinerators will be built in the Campania region, along with a number of landfills, but he did not give a timescale.
He did, however, appoint Italy’s former police chief to oversee the crisis, giving him four months to make improvements.