Neapolitans sneaked into the streets Sunday night and took matters into their own hands by burning the piles of garbage that had been rotting in the streets since December. The irate Italians set dozens of blazes that kept the firefighters busy throughout the night, making the authorities feel the seething anger that have piled up over the slow action in solving the crisis - a pile up similar to the trash that threatens them with outbreaks of disease and other health hazards. The streets resembled a firefight like those in Lebanon and Baghdad.
Italy's prime minister has set a meeting on Wednesday to address the problem, but the Italians view this as more talk, as a matter of fact, it may be more trash talk, but the garbage remains uncollected. City administrators say that they manage to collect about 1,000 tonnes of garbage daily, but his statements are regarded as rubbish. Estimates measure the garbage at 3,500 tonnes in the streets of Naples and some 45,000 tonnes in the wider Campania region. The trash has also been regarded as the source of cancer causing toxins found in the mozzarella cheese in the same region. Silvio Berlusconi hinted at creating 10 new rubbish dumps despite opposition. This would only fire up the citizens since it is a solution that will still endanger their health.
The once scenic Naples has evolved into an environmental nightmare that has already seen a drop in tourist arrivals. The European Union has threatened to take Italy to the European Court of Justice for mishandling and mismanagement of waste in the Campania region. The government has sought the cooperation of the populace and requested not to throw anymore wastes in the streets, but the Neapolitans countered by saying they could not let the garbage pile up inside their homes too. The chronic mismanagement of garbage collection, combined with the involvement of the local Mafia, have been blamed for the crisis.
Berlusconi is faced with a crisis from within Italy, and from the European Union because of the rubbish problem that has been ongoing for 10 years. Temporary solutions have been overtaken by the sheer volume of rubbish the Italians seem to have a talent for producing in big quantities. Processing sites and dumps proposed are being protested with rising vehemence. Italians are concerned about the vermin and bacteria that rotting rubbish would host, yet the action they took in burning the rubbish released the highest risk to human health by way of dioxins.
This is certainly a no-win situation. A protested permanent solution versus a dangerous burning solution. But the Neapolitans have been living under this nightmare for a decade. Perhaps another 5 years wouldn't be considered a long wait, as long as flies, roaches, rats, worms, maggots and other filthy and disgusting creatures can be persuaded to remain outside their homes, and not to grow any bigger than three times its normal size.