Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Garbage Wars

The situation in Naples as described in the Telegraph:
The Italian army moved into Naples as tensions over the city's mounting rubbish crisis erupted in violence.
Entire districts of the city are lying submerged under more than 5,000 tons of waste. The pile is growing at the rate of 800 tons a day.
No rubbish has been collected in Naples since Dec 21, when the city's dumps reached their capacity.
While the residents are furious at the stink, and the risk of disease, there have also been protests at plans to create new dumps or reopen old ones.
Riots broke out at Pianura, the site of an enormous open-air dump that the locals say pollutes the area with deadly dioxins.
Four buses were set alight during the night and police were struck with a hail of stones as they tried to dismantle temporary roadblocks.
Army engineers used bulldozers to clear waste from schools in the Caserta region.
The government called for the schools to be opened, but no students arrived.
Clemente Mastella, the justice minister, said the dead hand of the Camorra, or Neapolitan mafia, was behind the crisis.
"People who set fire to buses are not citizens, but usually people sent by the mafia," he said.
It is in the Camorra's interests for rubbish to build up in the city, since the clans own most of the rubbish recycling companies that would eventually win contracts to dispose of the waste.
In the past, corrupt firms have been found to be shipping waste to China, where it is buried, instead of recycling it.
Mafia families also profit from buying properties in the troubled areas, where prices have become depressed by the continuing rubbish crisis.
In addition, the Camorra is said by the police to bring lorry-loads of waste to Naples from factories in northern Italy for fees that undercut legal competitors, adding to the rubbish piles.
Also, there's a report on the practice of coffee-sharing:
Steeply rising prices for basic foods have inspired a new fad in the south of Italy: "coffee-sharing"
The trend, which started in the tiny Sicilian town of Partinico, involves two or even three people taking a sip each from the tiny cup of espresso.
"It is sociable and it has become a habit," said Alberto Guercio, a regular at Partinico's Bar del Viale.
"I usually go in with a friend anyway, so I offer him a sip. We save money, and we drink less coffee. Everyone knows that too many cups make you feel ill anyway."
Etiquette demands that the first drinker uses one side of the cup, the second person uses the other, and that the third person may drink from the middle.
"It is no longer rare to hear the Sicilian phrase 'menzu l'uno?' ('half each?')," said La Stampa newspaper.
Partinico, which lies around 19 miles from Palermo, has one of the highest rates of coffee consumption per head in the country.
Since the euro was introduced in 2001, the price of a cup has risen by around 40 per cent, to 90 cents (67p).


Enbrethiliel said...


First pasta and now coffee? =( I'm beginning to feel very bad for everyone who lives in Italy!

NancyP said...

When we lived in Italy (2002-04), our Italian friends told us that their food/restaurant expenses had nearly doubled since the introduction of the Euro, but, of course, salaries had not kept pace. My German friends say the same about their food costs.