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[greenyes] FW: Article: Oh, What a Mess! It's a Volcano of Reeking Trash

Anyone know about the status of recycling in Italy? ( see article below )

Take care,


This article from 
has been sent to you by rniemi@no.address

Oh, What a Mess! It's a Volcano of Reeking Trash

May 15, 2003


NAPLES, Italy, May 14 - Less refined than Milan and less
revered than Rome, Naples has long struggled against the
image of unkempt, unlucky stepsister to Italy's other major
cities, with too much dirt under her nails and too little
discipline in her ways. 

But she has never, ever seemed quite this trashy. 

For a
smelly, squalid week now, parts of Naples and its suburbs
have been overwhelmed, literally and figuratively, by

Garbage defies the confines of dumpsters and rolls,
Blob-like, down the sidewalks, threatening to suffocate and
nauseate anyone in its path. 

It dominates casual conversation and political debate, as
residents beg for release from the refuse and government
officials wonder what to do. 

Schools have been closed because of it. Traffic has been
blocked in protest of it. 

Perhaps inevitably, given the shadowy histories of both
southern Italy and waste management, the Mafia has even
been blamed for making things worse, and exploiting the

"I don't like to talk about the Camorra, because then I
feel like we're trying to shirk our responsibility," said
Giulio Facchi, a supervisor with the region's emergency
garbage commission, referring to the Naples-area
incarnation of the mob. 

"But they make the problem gargantuan," Mr. Facchi said in
an interview here on Tuesday. 

The situation is somewhat complicated, but its genesis
could not be simpler: gritty, lusty Naples finally came
upon the day when it had more waste than places to dump it,
and had to let it be. 

Although regional officials had long been trying to build
two large incinerators, they were thwarted by residents who
did not want the plants in their neighborhoods and
environmentalists who did not want the plants at all. 

That bind is echoed throughout Europe and Italy, where the
population is so dense. Naples just reached the pungent
crisis point sooner, with predictably messy consequences. 

It happened late last week, when piles of garbage that had
nowhere to go began to climb, spread, fester and reek, to
the considerable displeasure of Neapolitans, a famously
passionate lot. 

All around the Naples area, residents moaned and marched.
Some wore surgical masks, either relishing the
theatricality of the gesture or looking for a better way to

Others ignited hundreds of mounds of uncollected trash,
forcing firefighters to work overtime. 

In the suburb of Circumflegrea, protesters dumped trash
onto the railroad tracks, briefly delaying a train. In the
suburb of Ercolano, the mayor was under such constant siege
by her constituents that she was given a police escort and
could not find peace even during a private Saturday-morning

Women accosted her in the salon where she was getting her
weekly wash-and-set. 

"Six or seven people came in," said the mayor, Luisa Bossa,
in an interview in Ercolano. She looked weary but well

"They said I better do something about this - fast - or
they would burn more dumpsters," she recalled. 

By Tuesday afternoon, she said, they had set fire to about
100 of them. 

Their ire is understandable. Ercolano ought to be
picturesque, given its location on a slope between the
Mediterranean and Mount Vesuvius. 

But to walk through it on Tuesday was to be riveted by
scenes unfit for any postcard. 

On one block, a veritable Vesuvius of trash rose high above
the dumpsters meant to conceal it. On another block, heads
of rotting lettuce clumped into a miscreant shrub with a
peculiar fragrance. 

"I mean, this is gross," said Maria Cozzolino, a young
mother out for a stroll with her daughters, ages 8 and 6.
"Especially for the kids." 

Ercolano was among many places around Naples where schools
were closed on Friday and Monday, so that children could be
spared the ill wind and foul stench from nearby trash.
Mayor Bossa said she could not remember such a closing
since the early 1980's, when the cause was an earthquake.
"It is embarrassing," she said. "Humiliating." 

According to her and other local and regional officials,
aspects of the overall situation are also suspicious. 

They contend that the burning of dumpsters and other
protests have been encouraged by the Camorra, which could
benefit by having a hand in the sale of replacement

Amid the confusion, the Camorra could also find desperate
clients willing to pay for their trash to be hauled and
dumped illegally, local officials said. 

But there are heroes as well. 

The mayor of Torre Del
Greco, where there was not an overflow of trash, let
bundled cubes of it be taken to a city hall parking lot. To
keep the stench down, workers sprayed the cubes hourly with
water and perfume. 

There is hope, too. 

More dump space was opened early this week as several
northern cities also agreed to let refuse be transported
from the south by truck and train. Regional officials also
said that the incinerators might now have a chance. 

This morning, a garbage truck plied the streets of Chiaia,
an upscale neighborhood of Naples, to collect the mammoth
heaps of waste not far from the Giorgio Armani and
Ermenegildo Zegna boutiques. 

"The crisis is lessening," said Aldo Amitrano, a sanitation
department supervisor on the scene. 

Reflecting on the past week, Mr. Amitrano said, "More than
anything else, it's been dramatic."


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