EU fine over rubbish crisis in Italy
May 7, 2008 by babs22
The EU is suing Italy for failing to end a rubbish crisis that has left the city of Naples strewn with waste.
It’s going to be an early challenge for the incoming prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.
“We are taking Italy to court over its handling of the waste management crisis.”, said an official at the European commission, the EU’s executive arm.
“We note that proposals are being made by Italy to improve the situation, but on the basis of the timetable given, the commission is not convinced that this issue will be solved quickly enough.”
Italy would face heavy fines if the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice rules in favour of the EU.
In January, Brussels gave Italy a final warning, saying it risked being taken to the court over the case.
In December, the waste collection in Naples and the surrounding Campania region was halted, when almost every dump was declared full and hundreds of tonnes of rubbish piled up in the streets, triggering a health crisis.
Gianni De Gennaro, a former police chief, has been appointed by Italy’s outgoing prime minister, Romano Prodi, to tackle the rubbish in January.
But despite cleaning up the Naples’ historic centre, Mr De Gennaro has not yet managed to clear up the wider region, nor deliver a long-term solution to the problem.
A large incinerator has been built near Naples and designed to produce electricity using refuse as fuel, but has yet to open.
The commission official said that “the work on this (incinerator) has moved very slow, too slow.”
“But we hope the new Italian government will move to make this happen very quickly as it will go a long way to solving part of the problem.”
Locals blocked a rubbish dump this week, and set fire to rubbish piles, in a northern suburb of Naples.
To Italy, much of the problem is down to the local mafia, because the organisation is believed to control large parts of the waste business.