Neapolitans are reliving the same bleak situation of almost three years ago: tonnes of rotting garbage lining city streets and the surrounding province. The trash situation exploded in late October when local officials declared a state of emergency in the southern Italian region of Campania.
The situation, and its cause, is not new. A failure to organize recycling strategies, along with grave mismanagement on the part of garbage collection firms in Naples and the problem of finding new destinations for the region's rubbish, have resulted in a decade of recurring trash emergencies. This time, officials point the finger at the garbage disposal firm, which failed to collect the refuse; officials from the firm said they couldn't because of funding cuts.
Disposal was further thwarted by protesting locals in the town of Terzigno, site of the Cava Sari landfill, which is located in the protected area of the Vesuvius National Park and just kilometres away from the active volcano. Residents continually blocked the road to the landfill entrance and clashed violently with police on several occasions. Both Neapolitans and residents in Terzigno torched rotting trash piles as a sign of protest, but also to ward off disease and pests.
The emergency response by the Civil Protection Agency and the government in late October was quick. Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi visited the area, promising to clean the streets of Naples within 10 days; he did so by diverting trash to neighboring landfills and by bringing the incinerator in the nearby city of Acerra to full capacity, which, when operating regularly, can incinerate 1598 tonnes of refuse daily; it is enough to dispose of the 1,500 tinnes of trash the city of Naples alone produces every day.
However, Berlusconi's assurances were not enough and trash still lines the streets in Naples. On November 9, there were still 1300 tonnes of refuse.