Waste, European Union, Rome, Rubbish Crisis, Waste Disposal Crisis Author: Angela Giuffrida
Posted on: The Guardian | January 10th, 2018
Italy could be sanctioned by the EU unless authorities in Rome and its wider Lazio region get to grips with a waste disposal crisis that has dragged on for weeks, the country’s environment minister has warned.
Gian Luca Galletti lambasted the lack of an adequate plan for rubbish disposal in the capital after offers of help from the Emilia-Romagna and Abruzzo regions were snubbed by Rome’s Five Star Movement (M5S) administration for being too costly.
“A complete plan for Rome’s waste disposal is needed quickly, otherwise the situation will become very serious, and there is the risk of intervention by the EU,” Galletti said.
His warning came as Italian media reported that Brussels was keeping a close eye on the situation to ensure compliance with EU waste disposal rules.
“There are no signs of infringement for now,” an EU spokesperson told Il Messaggero. “It’s the national authority’s responsibility to ensure waste management functions properly and to resolve difficulties. Nevertheless, the [European] commission will continue to monitor the situation.”
In 2010, the European court of justice ruled that Italy had breached the directive after rubbish piled up on the streets of Naples in 2008.
Rome has long been plagued by waste management woes, but the situation became acute when collections were disrupted during the Christmas holiday. Parts of the capital have since been cleaned, but in outlying areas bins are still overflowing.
The crisis has become a key issue in campaigning for Italy’s general election on 4 March. M5S, which is leading in the polls, has accused the centre-left Democratic party of exploiting the problems for political gain.
A resolution also depends on Lazio governors finding a solution that will allow Rome to recycle waste without outside help. Ever since the Malagrotta landfill was closed in 2013 the city has been sending tons of household waste to Austria and other Italian regions.
Ama, the company in charge of collecting Rome’s litter, has long been accused of inefficiency. “These problems are not new,” said Marcello Clarich, a professor of administrative law at Rome’s Luiss University. “It’s a long story involving different parties, but certainly it hasn’t improved over the last few years.”