Image courtesy of Salvatore Laporta/AP
Remember the sad tale of Naples, the Italian city that has, quite literally, been buried under heaps of trash? Well, after watching more than 100,000 tons accumulate in the city and surrounding region, the Italian government has finally promised to help resolve the mounting issue, with Giorgio Napolitano, the country's president, calling it the "tragedy of the trash." Romano Prodi, the Italian prime minister, also pledged his intention to "definitely" deal with the problem - which has persisted since 1994.
It wouldn't be the first time the federal government has pledged its assistance: Since 1994, it has spent close to 2b euros and appointed 8 succeeding regional heads to fix the problem, all to no avail. As a result of the limited amount of space in the surrounding landfills, trash collection has now completely stopped. Local protesters are refusing authorities' requests to reopen some to help alleviate the situation; they have set fire to four buses and have gotten into a number of scuffles with the police over the past few days.City officials are pinning the blame in part on the Camorra, the local mafia, which they argue benefit from the chaos caused by the protests. "Trash is gold," recalled Franco Roberti, a local magistrate, referring to the words of a mafia boss. Despite concerns about poor air quality, the Italian government has ordered the reopening of all the region's schools. The minister of the interior said that he'd be ready to deploy the army to help ensure the removal of trash near the schools.
Via ::Le Monde: Les autorités italiennes dénoncent "la tragédie des déchets" à Naples (French newspaper)