In the southern Italian city of Caserta, the Italian government decided this week at a special meeting an action plan, with which they want to master the newly inflated garbage crisis. Among other things, the 262 officially known legal and illegal dumps in the Campania region are to be better monitored and protected from arsonists. With this measure, the already existing military presence should be reinforced again; Drones are also expected to be used in the future. In addition, the government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has provided € 160 million for the disposal and remediation of poisoned soils in the already landfilled landfills.
With hazardous waste, the mafia mixes vigorously
Especially in the so-called „Terra dei Fuochi“, the „earth of fire“ at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, have in recent weeks again burned many illegal landfills.The fires are usually laid by desperate residents – or by the Camorra The return of the landfill crisis was only a matter of time: in southern Italy there is a dramatic shortage of waste incinerators: the few ovens are far from able to cope with the waste produced, with the remainder disappearing into landfills, with the mafia particularly strong in the disposal of hazardous waste The remaining waste is either carted to northern Italy or transported by ship abroad – mainly to Holland, India and China.
Meanwhile, the crisis has hit the far more modern north of the country in terms of waste disposal. One reason for this is, paradoxically, the success of waste separation: for example, there is a lack of composting facilities in which the separately collected organic household waste can be recycled. Experts estimate that in Italy about three million tons of this foul-smelling garbage are stored in empty factory halls. The crisis has been accelerated by the fact that China has been refusing to take over plastic waste from Europe for nearly a year. In northern Italy, numerous „temporary storage facilities“ have gone up in flames to make room.
At least four billion euros are needed
„Due to the under-dimensioning of our network of recycling and incineration plants, the waste crisis is no longer a problem for the South,“ says Filippo Brandolini, Vice President of Utilitalia, the umbrella organization of public waste management companies in Italy. „We are facing a national emergency.“ Brandolini recalls that in the north since 2013, no incinerators were built and criticized the lack of a national disposal strategy. All in all, as the waste expert points out, at least four billion euros would have to be invested in new installations in Italy.
The situation is completely absurd: Italy pays 12000 euros a day in fines to the EU, which had initiated infringement proceedings against Italy after Italy’s 2007 refuse crisis in Naples. Since July 2015, when fines have been imposed, Rome has already transferred € 165 million to Brussels. In addition, hundreds of millions of euros, which costs the Müllexport. The only remedy would be the construction of modern recovery and incineration plants. However, the action plan adopted by the government on Monday does not say a word about such projects.
Waste incineration plants are a devil’s work for them
The reason is another absurdity: For Italy’s environmentalists, the waste incinerators are because of their exhaust fiends. The larger of the two government partners, the protest movement Cinque Stelle, has its roots in the environmental movement and is strictly against the construction of new stoves. Their recipe is: waste prevention and 100% recycling. For example, in Campania, the home region of Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, only 50 percent of the waste is separated, the ruling „Grillini“ and the fact that the disposal in legal and illegal landfills contaminates the soil and groundwater.
„Heat“ as an advantage, „poisoning“ as a disadvantage
In the run-up to the government’s special session, Di Maio even called for the phasing out of incineration plants in the north. Because Minister of the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini of the right-wing Lega demanded at the same time emphatically the construction of new stoves, the waste crisis in recent days has become a small government crisis. „In any normal country, the residual waste is incinerated, and there is no devastation or poisoning, probe.