In the region of Vesuvius, one of the most fertile areas of Italy, the Italian police are investigating a serious case of illegal waste trafficking run by organised crime. Casal di Principe, is a small village believed to be under the control of the Neapolitan mafia, the Camorra.
Behind the house of a mafia family, the environmental police uncovered a dump filled with toxic industrial sludge, including medical waste, asbestos and building materials. The groundwater in the area is also polluted. Police are continuing their search as information from the same source has led them to believe that boxes of lead from Germany could also be buried here. This could be an indication of an international trafficking ring.
The underground dumps prove that the trafficking of industrial waste by the Camorra in this region has been going on since the 1980s. This area, stretching between Naples and Caserta and including around fifty villages, is known as the “Land of Fires”. Residents are continually complaining about fires in the countryside. These are started by criminals to get rid of both urban and industrial waste. Only last year there were reports or more than 2500 fires.
According to an environmental agency, Lega Ambiente, for the last 20 years at least 410,000 trucks have crossed Italy depositing more than 10 million tons of industrial waste in these areas, and it could be many more.
In Calvi Risorta, an industrial area in the province of Caserta, the environmental police have discovered what they believe to be “the largest illegal dump in Europe” with over 2 million cubic metres of waste buried in an area of 25 hectares.
In this edition of Reporter, Margherita Sforza meets the people who face this environmental disaster on a daily basis.
Click on the video above to see her report.