EU Takes Legal Action
Piled up on the streets of Naples and its province Campania, lie thousands of tonnes of rubbish, uncollected and now rotting in the heat wave, which has soared through southern Europe. Authorities scrabble to find temporary waste dumps. The atmosphere is volatile. It stinks.
“The television reports we have all seen showing piles of garbage rotting in the streets of Campania or set on fire by angry residents have been truly shocking,” Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said in a statement. Because of this, on Wednesday the EU took the first steps that could lead to a landmark case against Italy in the European Court of Justice, the EU’s top court.
Campania, has always been problematic for waste – in 1994 it even declared a state of emergency. Despite this, organized crime and local incompetency have failed to stop this desperate situation. Locals have no choice but to dump, or rather burn their household waste in the streets. This, of course adds to pollution.
Brussels issued a statement: “Reflecting the urgency and gravity of the situation, the Commission is giving Italy one month to respond to its warning letter instead of the usual two-month deadline.” They noted that if the crisis persists, serious health and environmental risks are imminent through the spread of disease and through the pollution of water, air and land.
The EU also said it was checking whether four planned new waste landfill sites in Campania meet EU law and if they will help solve the waste problems, especially in the longer term.