Anthony M. Quattrone
On 4 January 2011, representatives of central and local institutions have reached a general agreement in Rome which should lead to the opening of two new major waste landfills in Campania, which are considered essential for resolving the ongoing waste disposal crisis in Naples and its province. There is some mystery regarding where the two landfills should be located. According to “Il Mattino” online, the plan foresees the reopening of the Macchia Soprana landfill in the province of Salerno and the opening of a new site in the municipality of Visciano, a town located in the province of Naples. Gianni Letta, the undersecretary of the Council of Ministers, representing the central government, met with Stefano Caldoro, the president of the Campania Region, Rosa Russo Iervolino, the Mayor of Naples, and the presidents of the five provinces composing the Campania Region (Avellino, Benevento, Caserta, Naples, and Salerno).
The expected “not in my backyard” reaction by the population and local administrators in the areas which should be hosting the two designated landfills was immediate. According to Domenico Montanaro, the mayor of Visciano, digging a landfill in his territory is absurd because there are no acceptable roads leading to the planned waste disposal area. He ironically asked reporters if there were plans to transport garbage by helicopters. Fifteen other mayors from the area near Visciano joined Montanaro in signing a document rejecting any proposal to dig a waste landfill in their area, and they invited central and regional authorities to immediately deny the information published by the media regarding the decisions taken on 4 January in Rome.
The president of the Province of Naples, Luigi Cesaro, who was present at the meeting in Rome, denied that any new landfills had been identified. He stated that “someone reported that during the meeting a decision had been taken that the area of Visciano would host the future landfill for the city of Naples. They are off target and I firmly deny these indiscretions which don’t even take into account the geography of the area and the difficulties of hosting a waste disposal plant. The only result of these indiscretions is to create protests and to foment disorder”. Cesaro confirmed that any decisions affecting the Province of Naples would be discussed with local administrators and stakeholders, in order to reach maximum consensus.
The second site, Macchia Soprana, which is located in the area of Serre in the province of Salerno, is currently at the center of an investigation by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Salerno due to reports that liquid from the existing landfill is polluting the river Sele. The mayor of Serre, Palmiro Cornetta, stated that it is necessary to reclaim the land around the current landfill before any further decisions can be taken.
In the meanwhile, Campania President, Stefano Caldoro, expressed his satisfaction with the decisions taken during the meeting in Rome, noting that the first step of cleaning up the city of Naples and its suburbs had been completed and that now the second step, aiming at a mid-term solution, had been taken with the decision to open new land fills.
The mystery regarding the location of the landfills is still unresolved.