In apparent reaction to widespread popular protest and organization on social media:
Posted:Sat, 04 Jan 2014 21:55:58 GMTROME (Reuters) – Church leaders in southern Italy have demanded a cleanup of waste dumped illegally by the mafia in a racket that has polluted farmland and earned the region the name the “Triangle of Death”.
According to Reuters: “The Camorra mafia has been dumping and burning toxic waste for decades in the area between Naples and the province of Caserta“. (Click Reuters title for entire article.)
The Route of Toxic Waste Trafficking to Campania, Italy
9,789,511 tonnes of waste disposed of illegally
According to Legambiente (15 November 2013):
From 1991 to 2013 some 82 investigations of waste trafficking have been undertaken. This waste trafficking has brought in poisons from every part of Italy to bury them in both legal and illegal landfills, in the Land of Fires (Terra dei Fuochi), and is managed by organized crime in Naples and Caserta. Investigations concluded with 915 orders to remand in custody, 1,806 denuncations involving 443 companies. The vast majority of the companies are headquartered in the center and north of Italy. A real invasion of poisons has occurred from the center-north to the Land of Fires, assigning to once Happy, Fruitful (Felix) Campania the, certainly unwanted, role of “the dustbin of Italy.”
In this quarter of a century, along the trafficking routes, everything has traveled: Slags from aluminum thermal metallurgy, dust fumes, paint sludge, liquid waste contaminated with heavy metals, asbestos, contaminated soils from remediation activities. And also the waste produced by companies or plants, well-known on the national scene, like those of the historical petrochemical industries of our country: poisons from Acne Cengio, the residues of the former Enichem Priolo, tannery sludge from the area of Santa Croce. A mix of deadly poisons. In these twenty-two years, around 10 million tonnes of waste of all types have been disposed of, dumped in the Land of Fires, in the provinces of Naples and Caserta. A truck, according to the investigators, is able to carry 25 tons at a time. Approximately 410 905 truckloads of waste has crossed half of Italy, finishing its journey in the countryside of Naples and Caserta in illegal dumps.
Only the widespread inertia of institutions, the “carelessness” of inspectors, and a dense network of collusion and conspiracy of silence could have allowed a column of tens of thousands of trucks to remain ‘invisible’. In this quarter of a century, on the highways of Italy, and then to the roads of the “Land of Fires” all has traveled: there is no type of waste which is not targeted by the ecocriminals of our country. The 82 investigations collected and monitored by Legambiente include both those made before the entry into force of the law making organized trafficking of waste a crime and subsequent to the approval in 2001 of what was Article .53 of the Ronchi decree and is now Article .260 of the so-called Environmental Code (Legislative Decree 152/2006) under which organized illegal waste trafficking is punished. Even today [15 Nov. 2013], in fact, the only environmental crime….Investigations, especially in the first phase – that is, until the mid-nineties – are a photocopy of one another, with the same names, the same companies, the same disposal sites and the same truck registration plates. (Translation a mix of google and our own)
Entire article, in Italian, here: http://www.legambiente.it/contenuti/dossier/le-rotte-della-terra-dei-fuochi http://www.legambiente.it/sites/default/files/docs/rotte_terradeifuochi.pdf
According to RAI: In their letter, APPEAL ADDRESSED TO THOSE WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY AND AUTHORITY TO INTERVENE, the Bishops of Campania call for something to be done quickly for the ‘land of fire’ (terra dei fuochi). Cardinal Sepe and the bishops of the dioceses of Campania underlined that in face “of this reality, once again, we express our concern and sorrow for the tragedy so many families and so many communities are living through in that part of the Campania region.”
“Too many are paying, with their own lives, the arrogance, the bullying, the incivility, greed and the stupidity of criminals who having no mercy, even for their own daughters, or their own family, did not hesitate to sell their own land to those as dishonest as themselves, raping and poisoning it with highly toxic and harmful waste.”
“Loud is the cry of rage and pain that comes from so many mothers and so many people of our beloved land, for the damage, as tragic as it is irreparable, whether suffered or feared, and who await clear, concrete and reassuring acts with respect to the present and to the future.” http://www.grr.rai.it/dl/grr/notizie/ContentItem-d88ece0e-217a-40d4-8c8a-c1b6fa69d05c.html (original in Italian; translation a mixture of google and our own; bold added for emphasis).
A study of moss in the Triangle of Death has indicated high rates of pollution with heavy metals:
“Heavy metal deposition in the Italian ‘triangle of death’ determined with the moss Scorpiurum circinatum” By A. Basile a, S. Sorbo a, G. Aprile a, B. Conte a, R. Castaldo Cobianchi a, T. Pisani b, S. Loppi b,* (a University of Napoli, Italy b University of Siena, Italy)
The moss Scorpiurum circinatum indicates that the ‘Italian triangle of death’ is heavily polluted by heavy metals. Article Accepted 1 April 2009
In this study, a biomonitoring project using the moss Scorpiurum circinatum was carried out to evaluate the deposition and biological effects of heavy metals in the area of Acerra (Naples, S Italy), one of the vertices of the sadly called ‘Italian triangle of death’ owing to the dramatic increase in tumours. The results clearly indicated that the study area is heavily polluted by heavy metals, a large proportion of which is likely present in the atmosphere in particulate form…Although severe biological effects were not found at the ultrastructural level in the exposed moss, effects on humans, especially after long-term exposure, are to be expected.” http://www.sciunisannio.it/doc/appunti/lt_scbio/2013-14/tec_erboristiche/triangle_death.pdf
From the article:
“Organisms whose parameters change in response to pollutants can be profitably used as biomonitors. One of the main effects of air pollution on biomonitors is the bioaccumulation of major and trace elements, especially heavy metals and radionuclides. The use of epiphytic (tree inhabiting) organisms e.g. lichens and mosses as biomonitors is a well-known biological method of determining atmospheric deposition. Mosses are effective bioaccumulators of airborne heavy metals as they lack a root system, depend on atmospheric depositions for their mineral supply, have a high surface/volume ratio and a high cation-exchange capacity (Bargagli, 1998)….Atmospheric deposition is only one of the possible intake pathways of heavy metals for human beings, although very important, it is the main source of heavy metals for mosses. As a consequence, moss monitoring has the advantage of allowing an estimation of environmental pollution at a given site as a function of time, avoiding short-term fluctuations. In turn, analysis of the elemental content of mosses gives the opportunity to investigate whether toxic elements might be responsible for the health effects observed in epidemiological studies. …Mechanisms involved in tolerance to metal pollution in the moss S. circinatum requires further investigation. A. Basile et al. / Environmental Pollution 157 (2009) 2255–2260” Abstract and entire article available here: http://www.sciunisannio.it/doc/appunti/lt_scbio/2013-14/tec_erboristiche/triangle_death.pdf (bold added)