Sunday, 28 November 2010

Garbage Hiding Under the Mask

(Rita Willaert, Napels - Naples)

[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - The dream is over: the Campania Region sinks into the trash, while citizens protest (1). In spite of Silvio Berlusconi promising that Naples would have been cleaned within three days  (2), the European Union reported that the situation has changed very little since 2008 (3).

Meanwhile, harsh tensions rose within the Government (4). Actually, according to Giuseppe D'Avanzo, the Italian Prime Minister would be under blackmail and a faction of his party controlled by the Camorra (5).

The trash crisis in Naples dates back to 1994, when state of emergency was declared and a commissioner appointed to solve the problem (6). Fifteen years later Silvio Berlusconi triumphantly celebrated the end of the crisis (7).

But the truth was deeper.

As masterly demonstrated by Roberto Saviano in "Gomorrah", Southern Italy is overloaded with rubbish coming from Northern Italy: businesses from the rich Po Valley find cheaper to hand over their garbage to the Camorra, instead of abiding the rules to legally dump waste (8).

The documentary movie "Biutiful Cauntri" clearly explains that a fifteen-year-long state of emergency was incredibly lucrative for irregular businessmen, corrupted politicians and the Camorra itself: safety and environmental rules were indeed removed, making the cake bigger than ever (9).

As Sergio Rizzo remarked, the responsibility lies on public administrators, while citizens of Southern Italy had to put up with their decisions (10). All the more reason, the problem concerns Italy as a whole: as Giorgio Bocca wrote, in Northern Italy not only is Mafia visibile, but it rules the roost (11).

Ezio Mauro is right in saying that protests are a gleam of light into the dark: "They told us that there were just the people, standing in permanent and direct dialogue with the leader. Here they are, instead: citizens are back" (12).


(1) Laura Viggiano - Reuters, "Garbage crisis in Naples sparks protests, vandalism",, October 21st 2010.

(2) "Berlusconi: 'Napoli pulita in tre giorni',, October 28th 2010.

(3) "Italy: Naples trash crisis 'as bad as 2008' says EU",, November 22nd 2010.

(4) Silvia Aloisi - Reuters, "Naples trash crisis highlights Berlusconi weakness",, November 23rd 2010.

(5) Giuseppe D'Avanzo, "Il premier sotto ricatto",, November 20th 2010.

(6) "Sedici anni di emergenza rifiuti",, October 24th 2010.

(7) "Berlusconi says Naples rubbish crisis is over",, March 29th 2009.

(8) On "Gomorrah" by Roberto Saviano, you can read the following review: Rachel Donadio "Underworld",, November 25th 2007.

(9) "Biutiful Countri", a documentary movie by Esmeralda Calabria and Andrea D'Ambrosio, was premiered in November 2007 at the Torino Film Festival, where it received a special mention (

(10) Sergio Rizzo, "Il fronte dei rifiuti che divide Nord e Sud",, November 26th 2010.

(11) Giorgio Bocca, "Il nord inquinato",, November 20th 2010.

(12) Ezio Mauro, "Il ritorno dei cittadini",, November 26th 2010.


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