Well, after delving into the foreign press, a little more apt to give you the 5W's than our Italian journalists, I finally got a quick rundown on the situation down in Campania, and offer you here my own answers to my own questions on the topic of garbage removal along with a few more spurious observations:
- Why'd the garbage back up in the first place?
What: While it looks like the dumps are simply full (they are), it's due to a simple lack of recycling plants, incinerators, and land fills.
Dietrologia/What's Behind It: The conspiracy theorists say that since the illegal (read: mafia/camorra controlled) dumps profit from these 'overflows', well, there may be an interest in a back log.
Quickie solution: the army is hauling the stuff to pits or someplace. Still near residents, no doubt, but at least free from illegal dumping of toxic waste.
New Solution: While they're talking about building new treatment plants (obviously not a short-term solution), some say they create energy, while others say they cause cancers (my vote: the latter), it would appear that Landlocked Switzerland with less land mass than Italy might take the stuff for recycling and energy and all those good things...
This begs a question I won't even bother posing.
- Why is everyone against the incinerators, etc.
What: Basically, due to a mistrust in government and local agencies (wonder why??)
Dietrologia/What's Behind It: I've since discovered after reading some insightful reports from the foreign press that contracts are won but then the toxic waste is merely dumped anywhere or in illegal dumps, which would explain why no one wants a dump near their homes.
According to some statistics, cancer is 12% above average for women living near dumps, 9% in men. That's certainly a strong case against them.
Quickie solution: Provide oversight to see that that doesn't happen? Fuggettaboutit..
New Solution: Another solution used successfully in Sicily is taking garbage into a place and the thing / machine/ magic elves separate out all the stuff into totally recyclable materials, and then goes ahead and recycles them! That's so they don't even have to go up against the locals refusing to separate out their garbage.
I have always held that the Italians are nothing if not inventive, and this, coming from the people who gave the world robotics, well, in my opinion it solves the problem on so many levels, it's sheer brilliance...
So brilliant, don't expect it to be put into use in the near future.
-The Camorra/Mafia Any way to get around them? Highly unlikely. In their infinite wisdom, the Italian govt. has you sign declarations in 6 copies of a document called 'Antifmafia Certificate' whereby, when you win a contract, you declare that you have nothing to do with the mafia.
Let me tell you, that is quite the deterrent.
- The Violence Meanwhile, the military has been sent into haul garbage but not restore order. And so, the fire brigades (trying to put out garbage fires are coming under attack and are forced into combat. Yesterday a bus was hijacked to place crossways in front of a potentially opened dump, and kids are still not going to school.
The Garbage Czar they've named has his work cut out for him. Hopefully, he'll do better than the folks in New Orleans.