The area in Italy between Naples and Caserta is known locally as the ‘Land of Fires’. Ten million tonnes of toxic waste have been burned and buried here in the last 20 years by Camorra mafia gangs, according to environmentalist group Legambient.
The World Health Organisation says that higher congenital abnormalities and deaths from cancer are “positively correlated” to exposure to poisonous waste in the area.
Local people are increasingly concerned and demand the government clean it up.
One man living nearby said: “Every day we see people who get sick. We do not know if this is the fate of life or not. We are tired, we are destroyed.”
Another local resident said: “We move from pain to hope, from exasperation to something that could bring change to this situation.”
A Camorra whistleblower told authorities about the dangerous dumping many years ago but the information was declared secret until now.
The government wants to deploy the army to help clear the contaminated land.