Naples waste management issue
The Naples waste management crisis was a series of events surrounding the lack of waste collection
Waste collection
Waste collection is the component of waste management which results in the passage of a waste material from the source of production to either the point of treatment or final disposal...

 in the city of Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 that peaked in the summer of 2008, but carries on to the present day.


Since the mid-1990s, Naples and the Campania
Campania is a region in southern Italy. The region has a population of around 5.8 million people, making it the second-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km² makes it the most densely populated region in the country...

 region has suffered from the dumping of municipal solid waste
Municipal solid waste
Municipal solid waste , commonly known as trash or garbage , refuse or rubbish is a waste type consisting of everyday items we consume and discard. It predominantly includes food wastes, yard wastes, containers and product packaging, and other miscellaneous inorganic wastes from residential,...

 into overfilled landfill
A landfill site , is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial and is the oldest form of waste treatment...

s. Beginning on December 21, 2007, the municipal workers refused to pick up any further material; as a result, the waste had begun to appear as regular fixtures on the streets of Naples, posing severe health risks to the metropolitan population. On December 31, the government closed one of two major dumps near the city at the request of the city's residents.

Reports during the summer of 2008 stated that the problem was caused at least in part by the Camorra
The Camorra is a Mafia-type criminal organization, or secret society, originating in the region of Campania and its capital Naples in Italy. It is one of the oldest and largest criminal organizations in Italy, dating to the 18th century.-Background:...

, a powerful local mafia based in Campania, who had created a lucrative business in the municipal waste disposal business. Heavy metals, industrial waste and chemicals and household waste are frequently mixed together, dumped near roads and burnt to avoid detection, leading to severe soil and air pollution.

Government dumping plans

In January 2008 Romano Prodi
Romano Prodi
Romano Prodi is an Italian politician and statesman. He served as the Prime Minister of Italy, from 17 May 1996 to 21 October 1998 and from 17 May 2006 to 8 May 2008...

’s government announced plans for the solution of the crisis including the building of three new incinerators. Prodi appointed a former national police chief as waste commissioner and the army was called in to bulldoze the waste from the streets of Caserta
Caserta is the capital of the province of Caserta in the Campania region of Italy. It is an important agricultural, commercial and industrial comune and city. Caserta is located on the edge of the Campanian plain at the foot of the Campanian Subapennine mountain range...

 while protesters clashed with police in central Naples. But no real progress had been made by May of that year, when Prodi's government was defeated in the general election
Italian general election, 2008
A snap general election was held in Italy on 13 April and 14 April 2008. The election came after President Giorgio Napolitano dissolved parliament on 6 February 2008 following the defeat of the government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi in a January 2008 Senate vote, and the unsuccessful tentative...

. At that time over
200000 tonnes of waste still remained on the streets.

Crisis solution

The newly elected Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi , also known as Il Cavaliere – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the...

 took immediate action, and held his first cabinet meeting in Naples. He then appointed a new waste commissioner, Guido Bertolaso (then the head of the Civil Protection Department). Bertolaso faced similar protests from the residents of Naples, but during June and July of 2008 he dealt with the problem. He opened new landfill sites and an incinerator. In addition he sent 700 tons of rubbish a day to incinerators in Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, while new incinerators should be built locally.
By the end of July, Berlusconi declared that the emergency was closed.
By September the rubbish had gone from the streets of Naples,

In March 2009, waste commissioner Bertolaso was transferred to Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, to deal with a fresh high-profile problem even though great amounts of garbage were still stocked in temporary sites awaiting to be disposed. Likewise, in many municipalities on Naples' periphery there is still a garbage problem. Though Berlusconi's actions have cleaned up the city of Naples, one account states that as of September 2009, "the highways and byways of the rural south remain festering dumping grounds."

Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

reported that in October 2010, riots near Terzigno
Terzigno is a comune in the Province of Naples in the Italian region Campania, located about 20 km east of Naples. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 16,977 and an area of 23.5 km²....

 halted garbage collection again in Naples, leading to "overflowing bins and renewed international attention", and "new calls for [Berlusconi's] resignation and allegations that his government is in bed with the mob". The riots occurred after the government announced another 3-million-metric-ton landfill
A landfill site , is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial and is the oldest form of waste treatment...

 would be constructed within Vesuvius National Park
Vesuvius National Park
Vesuvius National Park is a national park centered around the volcano, Mount Vesuvius, east of Naples, Italy. The park was founded in 1995 and covers an area of around 135 square kilometers all located within the Province of Naples....

; residents, already upset by toxic waste
Toxic waste
Toxic waste is waste material that can cause death or injury to living creatures. It spreads quite easily and can contaminate lakes and rivers. The term is often used interchangeably with “hazardous waste”, or discarded material that can pose a long-term risk to health or environment.Toxic waste...

 levels at a nearby landfill, were said to believe that much of the garbage going into the new landfill would be "illegally imported by the Camorra
The Camorra is a Mafia-type criminal organization, or secret society, originating in the region of Campania and its capital Naples in Italy. It is one of the oldest and largest criminal organizations in Italy, dating to the 18th century.-Background:...

" and would be similarly uncontrolled.

See also

  • Biùtiful cauntri
    Biùtiful cauntri
    -Release and book:It was premiered in November 2007 at the Torino Film Festival, where it received a special mention. It was then released in ten Italian movie theaters in March 2008. On 15 July 2008 the film was released in France, where it received a positive review from Le Monde...

    , a 2007 documentary film about the environmental problems relating to the waste dumping
  • Triangle of death (Italy)
    Triangle of death (Italy)
    The triangle of death is an area in the Italian province of Campania comprising the municipalities of Acerra, Nola and Marigliano. The region has recently experienced a considerable increase in the number of deaths caused by cancer and other diseases that exceeds the Italian national average...

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