Five police officers injured in Naples protest over new garbage tip

Monday, October 25, 2010

In 2007, Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi pledged to create a solution to Italy's ever-growing problem with litter. Residents of Terzigno, however, claim that nothing has been done to clear up the refuse on their streets.

Five police officers were injured as they attempted to quell a demonstration over plans to build a large garbage tip on the edge of an Italian town, officials confirmed on Saturday. Two police officers and three carabinieri suffered minor injures during the protest, which lasted several hours. Residents of Terzigno, a municipality in the Province of Naples, hurled stones and fireworks at the police, who responded by attempting to disperse the demonstrators using teargas and baton charges. Protesters are campaigning against the opening of a new waste dump near the town, and the incident on Saturday is the latest in a series of demonstrations in which campaigners are preventing access to the existing garbage tip.

Cquote1.svg They have ruined our lives, the lives of our children who are growing up in a world of rubbish, they are destroying our lives day by day. Cquote2.svg

—Terzigno resident

The blockade means waste disposal workers are unable to collect refuse, and it has been reported that 2,000 tones of rubbish has already piled up on the streets of Naples. Protesters set the garbage alight on Friday evening, Rosa Russo Iervolino, the mayor of Naples confirmed. Some protesters burned Italian flags and set cars on fire. "The bad smell bothers us, but it is the lesser evil," one protester, a grammar school teacher, said. "The most important thing is that we are dying here, there is leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma, there are the most terrible diseases around." Two parents added that their children were suffering from respiratory problems and paediatricians had advised them to move away from the area. "They have ruined our lives, the lives of our children who are growing up in a world of rubbish, they are destroying our lives day by day," said one.

In 2007, Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi pledged to create a solution to Italy's ever-growing problem with litter. However, a European commisioner has warned the Italian government that they may face legal action from the European Union (EU), who may be able to fine them for failing to improve waste management in Naples. "I am worried by what has been happening in Campania in recent days," said Janez Potočnik, the European Commissioner for the Environment. He added that the EU were considering sending a team to the area to assess whether laws protecting human health and the enviroment were being breached. "Today's situation leads us to believe that measures taken by Italian authorities since 2007 are insufficient," he said. "What has been happening in the last days shows that the Italian authorities have not yet done what is needed." Mr. Potočnik added that he felt that the region still had no waste management and that the only incinerator "is not functioning properly and at full capacity."


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