Tuesday, February 5

Trash or Treasure Trove?

At the risk of being accused as totally garbage-obsessed, I merely keep this up because while Napoli’s no longer making front page news, the problem still persists. But I offer hope.

Today’s La Repubblica newspaper ran an entire two page spread on a certain Zhang Yin, the richest woman in China, and the most successful “Self-Made Woman” in the world (with apologies to Oprah & JK Rowling, Queen Elizabeth & Imelda Marcos – although the latter are not really self-made, unless they started selling off art and shoes, then they'd make the grade). In any case, she made her money from recycling.

In Italy, they are now talking about instituting fines for people who don’t recycle. I can’t help but thinking that, at least in Rome, this initiative is going to go the way of fines for people who don’t pick up after their doggie’s poops. I mean, who is truly there to monitor? Especially at night, when, come morning, all the merda is all over the sidewalks? (The same can be said for garbage). In Milan, the garbage was separated in each apartment complex. The entire apartment would be fined time and again until we caught on. Needless to say, we caught on real quick and recycling in Milan is around 45%.

In Naples, tenants may pay the ‘pizzo’, but I’d like to see if they’ll pay the pizza-box fine or just send a few henchmen to the Condo President’s front door instead.

In Rome, we have anonymous dumpsters placed randomly around town. So, will they post little garbage fairies at each of the dumpsters who will then come chasing after you with your garbage in tow? Like most laws, they will be imposed but not enforced. Chaos wrapped in (unrecyclable) cellophane.
I propose that someone (preferably outside the Mafia) in this country of few trees takes a good hard look at Ms. Zhang’s enterprise. She takes containers that arrive in America, dumping their trash… errr goods and picks up the paper trash to bring back to China. Sheer brilliance. And she got extremely wealthy along the way.

Of course, she does business with a country where people separate their garbage out, voluntarily, and without the risk of fines…three things we’ll be hard-pressed to come by here. But, I would like to appeal to Italy’s innate entrepreneurial spirit. I know if she can do it, an Italian can do so, too.

In the meantime, I would also like to make an appeal to Ms. Zhang: I hear there’s a flotilla the size of North America roaming around the Pacific Ocean and made up of plastic bottles that have agglomerated from the undercurrents. Can you maybe throw out a huge net and perhaps tow this Great Pacific Garbage Patch back over to China too?
Alright. I admit it, I am garbage-obsessed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is a new comment on the post "Naples Garbage Riots".

Author: Guglielmo Pernice
From personal experience

Italy is a wonderful country and I would encourage anyone that has not done so to visit my home country and all of its treasures. Unfortunately, not at this time..
At its best, Italy runs because of the passion and the will of its people and its small privately owned businesses, not because of its international corporations and government bureocrats. This can be seen from your standard government services, utilities and the less than optimally run corporations like Alitalia and Eni.
Unfortunately Naples is another environment and things run slower (that would be an understatement since city officials were warned about the city dump 10 years ago) and less organized (to say government officials are on the take would be unfounded). Funding is granted by the feds or the EU but it always seems to run out prior to the project being completed.
Unfortunately because of the disaster in Naples the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida which are extremely dependant on tourism areand will be severely impacted..
Having said all this I remain an Italian at heart and love my island of Ischia.

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