Berlusconi says rubbish crisis over; protests continue

A car burns after clashes between police and demonstrators, in Terzigno, near Naples, in the early hours of October 22, 2010. File photo: AP.  

Demonstrators vowed on Saturday to continue their protests over rubbish disposal in the Naples region, despite a pledge by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi that a deal was near.

“We cannot give up as long as we do not see concrete results that take into account the welfare of the people,” said a spokesperson for the Movement for the Protection of the Area around Vesuvius.

Mr. Berlusconi flew to the region directly from the EU summit in Brussels on Friday to hammer out an agreement with local mayors that he predicted would put an end to the rubbish collection crisis.

The government has pledged, among other things, to introduce a law by the end of next week that would shelve highly controversial plans to open a second garbage dump in the Vesuvius National Park.

It also agreed to limit the rubbish that can be brought to the existing Sari landfill near Terzigno to dry garbage in a bid to avoid smelly seepage, Mr. Berlusconi said.

The mayors in return promised to immediately end the protests that have gripped the region for days.

But the demonstrators, who have set up camp at the Sari landfill, have other ideas. A march against the region’s garbage dumps would go ahead as planned on Saturday afternoon, they said.

They also want the Sari depot to be closed down immediately.

The last few weeks have been marked by sometimes violent clashes between the population and the police over the new dump and the stench at the existing landfill. Numerous people have been injured, while several garbage trucks have been set on fire.

Italian media reported other protests in the Giugliano region north of Naples over the reopening of a garbage dump there that already contains six million tons of rubbish.

Officials had promised to close the depot indefinitely during a previous garbage collection crisis provisionally resolved by Berlusconi in 2008.

In the meantime, more than 2,000 tons of garbage have piled up in the streets of Naples and the surrounding area.

European Union officials in Brussels had warned last week that they were mulling whether to impose hefty fines on Italy for its failure to handle the situation. Berlusconi had at the time pledged to solve the crisis “within 10 days.”

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 9:58:39 AM |

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