Protesters torch a bus in Naples garbage protest

Local residents skirmished with riot police and set a bus alight in a town near Naples yesterday in a second day of protests over the region’s waste disposal crisis.

The situation “is still very heated,” police chief Santi Giuffre said, as protesters tried to block trucks from unloading at a tip near the town of Terzigno, some 20km southeast of Naples.

“This is a very serious situation,” Stefano Caldoro, governor of the Campania province where Naples is located, said on SkyTG24 television.

Caldoro called for citizens to stop the “illegal blockage of a functioning garbage tip” and said the government would offer “economic subsidies” to local councils that agree to host dumps on their territory.

But local officials have demanded the immediate closure of the Sari tip as public anger mounts.

“The Sari tip is a source of serious environmental pollution,” Gennaro Cirillo, mayor of the nearby town of Trecase, said.

Residents say the tip is already full and have said they will put a stop to plans to set up a second tip in the area.

Cirillo said opening a second tip would be “an intolerable calamity.”

The inhabitants of Terzigno and several other municipalities in the area are planning to bring their case to Rome on Friday, where they are to hold a rally.

Tensions have been rising in the Naples region on this flashpoint issue, which helped Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to his election victory in 2008 after he promised to stamp out the waste disposal problem in the area.

The European Court of Justice earlier this year criticised Italy, saying it did not have an adequate system for waste disposal in the Naples region and warning that the problem was a risk to human health and the environment.

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