With an estimated 10,000 tons of refuse lying in the streets of Naples and surrounding province, frustrated residents have started setting the trash piles ablaze to ward off disease and pests.
The EU has warned Italy that it will take action if the problem is not solved soon. In response, the Italian government has appointed a special commissioner to deal with the refuse emergency in Naples.
For weeks, demonstrators have been blocking roads and train lines in an effort to get the government’s to pay attention to their dire situation. However, by setting the mountains of abandoned garbage on fire, they worsen the health risk for residents: burning trash releases more dioxins into the air.
The latest crisis came after two trash sites in the Campania region were closed over the New Year because they were filled to capacity.
The Campania region produces more rubbish than it can dispose of. With landfills saturated and outraged residents opposing the construction of new dumps and incinerators, the local and national governments have encountered much difficulty in finding solutions to the refuse problem in this region.
A failure to organize recycling strategies, along with the problem of finding new destinations for the region’s rubbish, has resulted in a decade of recurring trash emergencies.
Meanwhile, the local mafia continues to illegally dump millions of tons of industrial waste from factories in the North by blasting it in the mountains surrounding Naples.