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Archive for May 30th, 2008

Naples Garbage Opera – Act II

Posted by feww on May 30, 2008

Partenope: Naples Garbage Opera

Act II: Confusion, Rodents, Vermin, Pest [and possible disease pandemics]

There are known knowns: Things we know we know

  • As per usual with Italian politics, garbage and football the facts and numbers don’t add up!
  • The garbage dumps near Naples reached their limit in Mid December 2007.
  • By Mid January 2008, some four weeks later, about 250, 000 tons of garbage decorated the Neapolitan streets.
  • The 6million inhabitants of Campania region (Naples is the capital city of Campania) produce about 7,200 tons of garbage per day (between Mid December 2007 and end May 2008 they will have produced a total of about 1.2 million tons of garbage ).
  • Germany’s Environment Ministry estimates that 52,000 tonnes of Italian waste were imported to Germany for processing in 2007. (Source)
  • A one-off deal was struck with the German city of Bremen to transport 30,000 ton of Neapolitan garbage to an incinerator in Bremerhaven.
  • Another deal was struck with Germany to haul 200,000 tons of the garbage by train to German Incinerators via Austria.
  • EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said the European Commission would take legal action against Italy unless it resolves the garbage crisis in Naples. [Wow, that really scared the pants out of the Italians!]

The ongoing nightmare scenario could only get worse in the coming weeks when the summer temperatures soar in the Campania region.

Naples’s mob, the Camorra has been illegally importing garbage from Italy’s northern cities stuffing Naple’s landfills. “The Camorra has grabbed an even larger share of the city’s garbage-hauling contracts after vetting standards were relaxed to cope with the current crisis.” WSJ said.

[Of course, no one has told EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas that “throwing out trash has become big business” in Europe. “According to a March report by the European Topic Centre on Resource and Waste Management, about 15% of the continent’s hazardous trash, or 8.6 million tons, was disposed of outside its country of origin in 2003, the latest year for which figures are available.” Wall Street Journal reported. “Plants in northern Germany charge between €150 and €250 ($237 to $394) to incinerate one ton of waste, estimates Christian Fischer, a waste-management analyst who co-authored the March report.” ]


[Why is it so difficult to live without producing waste you can’t handle?] A woman and children walk past a pile of garbage in Naples, Italy. Photo: AP Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

There are known unknowns: We know there are some things we do not know

  • How much of this garbage still fills the streets of Naples?
  • The estimates for the amount of garbage still covering the Neapolitan sidewalks (and elsewhere in Campania) vary from a misleading 100,000 tons to an unconvincing 200,000 tons.
  • About 700,000 tons of garbage may have been stockpiled in provisional sites. (Source)
  • Unless a substantial amount of the garbage, about 200 -300,000 tons, is consumed by millions of rats and other vermin, the total amount of garbage rotting on the streets of Naples and other town in Campania is closer to 400 – 500,000 tons as of end May 2008. What we know that we don’t know, is exactly how many rats are feasting on their Neapolitan diet and how many pizzas they can eat per head per day!

Unknown unknowns: The ones we don’t know we don’t know

  • In case of bubonic plague outbreaks or other serious disease pandemics caused by rodents, vermin, pest infestation, how does the Italian government propose to protect the rest of Italy, or the EU authorities the rest of Europe?

Relate Links:

[Note: The Known Unknowns …  was recited by the US bard, Donald Rumsfeld.]

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