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Friday, October 22, 2010

Violence Erupts in Naples, Italy Over Trash Problems


From the Reuters article by Silvia Aloisi:

"At least 20 police officers were injured on Thursday and there was further violence overnight as the chronic problem of waste disposal in Italy's third largest city flared into violence for another night.

"Hundreds of tonnes of garbage lie uncollected in the streets after a dispute erupted over a new dump near the town of Terzigno, near Naples, where the existing facility is full and where residents complain about the stench and toxic waste.

[...]

"Overnight, police confronted around 2,000 demonstrators, who threw stones, marbles and firecrackers and used tree trunks to block access to a dump near Terzigno, located in a national park at the foot of Mount Vesuvius.

"Headlines on Friday were dominated by the violence, which media reports compared to a 'guerrilla war.'

"But the clashes were only the latest episode in a crisis that has persisted for years and which in 2008 prompted the then newly elected Berlusconi to declare a national disaster.

"Organised crime interests have been deeply entwined with rubbish collection in Naples for many years. But the problem has been aggravated by inefficiency, political opportunism and unscrupulous business operators.

[...]

"Local authorities say a dispute with a waste contractor has aggravated recent problems and individual local authorities have refused to take waste overflows from neighbouring areas, heightening the sense of frustration.

"The anger of Terzigno residents has been compounded by repeated changes of policy, with plans for a new dump announced, cancelled and then re-confirmed on different occasions, while concerns over health have grown."

Don't worry though. Brussels will save the day.

"In Brussels, a spokesman for the European Commission, which has taken legal action to force Italy to solve the crisis, said it was studying the response it had received from Rome.

"'The infringement procedures are ongoing,' spokesman Joe Hennon told journalists. 'Italian authorities need to draw up a plan to manage rubbish in the region.'"

Thank you, Dr. Obvious... er uh, Joe Hennon.

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