Polluters under fire

Authorities target widespread river abuse

Editorial Staff
May 17, 2007

The State Forestry Corps and the Legambiente environmental association have joined forces to combat the ever-increasing abuse of Italy’s main rivers. In a joint campaign to raise public awareness, the two organizations have revealed that Italy’s rivers are increasingly prey to pollution and dumping, illegal construction and water ‘looting’.


Italian water-ways are victim to an estimated four penal crimes every day—and this is only a fraction of the number of violations that go unpunished. The Tiber, which flows from the Apennine mountains to the Tyrrhenian Sea, is the hardest hit as it is subject to one fifth of the country’s river infractions. Legambiente president Roberto Della Seta has stated that ‘Illegal activity poses a series threat—especially the dumping of waste and pollution caused by the run-off of agricultural chemicals and excessive water removal’.


Crucial sources of fresh water used for domestic and irrigation purposes throughout the country, Italian rivers are also important generators of hydroelectric energy. In response to the alarming problem, the Forestry Corps is currently implementing new policies to combat ‘river criminals’, especially in southern regions, where water tests regularly get failing marks.


In addition, the looming water shortage problem has prompted officials to increase checks over the summer as threat of a drought could lead to a surge in illegal water removal.

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