Monday, May 28, 2007

AFP: Italy hopes Romania will take Naples-area rubbish

Italy hopes to send at least part of the mountains of rubbish piling up in the Naples area to Romania to help solve a waste treatment crisis that has entered its third week, sourcesI said Monday.

"A task force of experts from the environment ministry and civil protection are going tomorrow (Tuesday) to Bucharest for discussions with our Romanian counterparts," a ministry spokesman told AFP, confirming newspaper reports.

"For now, it will just be discussions to find out" whether waste storage and treatment "can be done there," he said.

An emergency plan launched overnight Thursday has so far removed 9,000 of the more than 15,000 tonnes of garbage that had accumulated in the streets and along the roads of the area, an official spokeswoman, Ilaria Proietti, told AFP.

"In two or three days, the worst will be behind us, but the situation will remain difficult," added Proietti, the spokeswoman for an extraordinary commission assigned to the longstanding regional problem.

The commission estimates that the region has one million tonnes of rubbish awaiting treatment or illegally stored in the region by the Camorra, the local mafia, which began taking over the lucrative waste disposal business in the 1980s.

The daily Il Corriere della Sera reported that a country such as Romania could charge 150 euros (200 dollars) a tonne to take the rubbish.

Naples has already sent garbage to other parts of Italy including northern Lombardy and southern Puglia, as well as to Germany.

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