Crack Italian troops are now patrolling the sreets in and around Naples in a government drive to help solve the long-standing waste disposal crisis there. Army units have started working in tandem with the caribinieri and municipal security forces. A joint monitoring patrol using special detection equipment has already impounded two lorries after finding an unknown amount of radio-active material hidden in the contents.
Investigations are underway into the alleged collusion of officials with waste handling companies, many of which are believed to have been infiltrated by the Camorra mafia. Two suspected mobsters have been arrested
Operations began with the opening of a dump at Savignano Irpino 100 kilometres north of Naples, one of 10 sites to be opened in the southern region.
Guido Bertalaso, the junior minister tasked with tackling the crisis reassured the public: “The army as well as the police are here to inspect the quality of the rubbish arriving,” he said.
The government is keen to counter claims that Italy is being militarised, a fear raised by opposition politicians.
Only soldiers with experience in the field abroad will be taking part in the scheme agreed between Defence and Interior Ministers.
As many as two and a half thousand troops will take part in urban patrolling duties and there are plans to extend the scheme to other parts of Italy.