Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fed-up Italians barricade streets with uncollected rubbish

Residents of Naples, fed up with the stench caused by months of uncollected rubbish, have used the waste to barricade streets to protest the long-running crisis, Italian television reported.

Other residents of the southern Italian city have set fire to the mouldering piles of rubbish and firefighters called out to deal with the blazes have, at times, been escorted by police to protect them from stone-throwing locals.

This latest twist came a day before Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was elected last month, is to follow up campaign promises to tackle the "scandal" by holding the first full cabinet meeting of his new government in Naples on Monday.

More than 5,000 tonnes of household rubbish litter the streets of the city, and another 45,000 tonnes line the roads of the southern region of Campania, according to the latest figures, a legacy of the dysfunctional waste collection system.

Earlier this month, the European Commission launched legal action against Italy before an EU court over its failure to tackle the crisis.

Many landfills in Campania are controlled by the Neapolitan mafia called the Camorra, which lines its pockets by subverting waste-handling procedures and shipping in industrial waste from the north.


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