Could the Italian city of Naples be nearing a state of emergency due to a rubbish collection crisis that shows no signs of being resolved?
That is the question many are asking after a weekend in which scores of overflowing bins have been set alight, while locals pelted firefighters with stones as they try to extinguish the blazes.
With some 40,000 tonnes of uncollected garbage creating a health hazard, one man warned public patience was running out and the people were angry. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says he will hold a cabinet meeting in Naples on Wednesday – his pledge to end the crisis helped return him to power in elections last month.
The stench in the streets is now so bad locals say they are staying indoors. As for tourists, they are simply staying away and even the US Navy, which has a base in Naples, is reviewing matters.
The problem follows years of bad management and organised crime influence.