25 Oct 2010

New dump for Naples put on hold

3:33 pm on 25 October 2010

The Italian government has put the opening of a new waste dump near Naples on hold after weeks of protests by residents.

Garbage continues to pile up in the streets of Naples and surrounding towns where people hold trash bonfires at night.

Residents are already complaining about the stench and toxic waste coming from an existing landfill at Terzigno, which is reportedly near saturation point.

Mayors of towns near the planned new dump want more guarantees about it.

Hundreds of people joined more demonstrations on Saturday night in Terzigno. Sky TG-24 television broadcast pictures of rocks being thrown at police.

Six policemen were reportedly injured.

Civil Protection chief Guido Bertolaso said the existing dump would be cleaned up and would continue to be used until it was full.

The rest of the garbage from Naples would be directed to other landfills and to a nearby incinerator.

Upgrade pledged by PM

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pledged on Friday to spend 14 million euros to upgrade the dump at Terzigno and said there was no threat to public health from the site.

However, EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik said in a statement on Saturday that he was very worried about the situation in Naples.

He said action taken since the last garbage crisis in 2008 appeared to be insufficient.

The BBC reports Naples has suffered years of waste mismanagement, due to corruption and organised crime.