Italy’s civil protection chief links Naples’ waste crisis to Mafia

September 25
The Italian civil protection chief voiced concern Friday that the Mafia was exploiting Naples’ new waste crisis to trigger social unrest and violence.

Guido Bertolaso, who leads the unit responsible for tackling all national emergencies, suggested on a radio program that “something funny” was happening in Naples and that probably the local crime organization known as Camorra was involved in the recent trash alarm.

“Some people are trying to exploit a situation that should be under control because all necessary garbage dumps have been opened by the government following the 2008 waste crisis in the area,” Bertolaso said, adding that many of the problems also stemmed from bad local administration.

Demonstrators against the construction of a new waste dump on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius marched Thursday setting afire rubbish containers and clashing with police in an attempt to block the passage of waste trucks headed to the site.

Several vehicles were set on fire and the dissent quickly degenerated into violence. The local chief police was hit by a stone in the face and had 10 stitches applied. Police used batons and tear gas to clear the crowd, and a demonstrator was arrested.

“Someone is maneuvering against the authorities and is violating the law. The building of the garbage deposit near Mount Vesuvius has been ordered by the Italian government and must be constructed,” Bertolaso said.

The junk alarm in the southern town started to worsen Wednesday when a series of public service strikes and acts of vandalism against the city’s waste disposal trucks caused some 750 tons of rubbish to pile on the roads.

Naples is reliving an emergency similar to one in 2008, when the city was literally submerged by waste and the government was forced to intervene.

Alfredo Mantovano, undersecretary of state for internal affairs, voiced similar concerns to Bertolaso in suggesting a connection of the Neapolitan Mafia to the new waste crisis and social disorder.

“The trash sector has always been one of the most lucrative businesses for organized crime,” he said.

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