Naples, Tourism in the waste?

The waste crisis in Campania is far from being resolved. After 20 years of waste emergency, for the umpteenth time, Christmas time 2010 in Naples was characterized by piles of rubbish into the street. “On Christmas the hotel reservations in Naples fell down below 10% compared to 2009” said Neapolitan hotelkeepers, “the main reason of this drop is the waste emergency” they said. The main problems related to the rubbish, however, were in Naples, but other touristic sites in Campania such as the Amalfi coast, Sorrento, Capri, which accommodate every year thousands of tourists, were affected as well.
Even if hotel managers usually depict a situation worse than It really is, It is also true that managing a touristic enterprise during the waste emergency is very hard.
But why can’t Naples have a normal waste cycle? What is the situation like now? How is it possible to develop tourism in a situation like the one we can see through the media, with rubbish in the streets and tourist jumping among the garbage bins?

The history of waste in Naples is very complex. Bad political management and camorra’s interests are at the basis of the current situation.
– In 1994 Italian government declared the emergency state in Campania after the closure of the landfills. At first the regional authorities wanted to replace landfills with modern establishments. However the works for the construction of the new plants were very slow and, with the landfills closed, the rubbish for the first time rested on the streets.

– But waste is also, after the drug market, the most important business for the camorra, the Neapolitan mafia. Thanks to camorra in a few years Campania became a big illegal landfill for industrial and toxic waste from every part of Italy. The decision to delegate the power on the waste cycle in Campania meant a change of competences between local and central authorities but, moreover, the allocation of a lot of funds for the emergency management.

– At the end of 2009 the Italian Government passed a law that ended the emergency management of the waste cycle in the region and delegated all functions to the local authorities. The administrations involved faced immediately huge difficulties, especially concerning the financial resources needed for the new plants and the contracts for the collect services. The situation became immediately problematic and now, even though on paper there is an ordinary management, the emergency does not seem to have been resolved. The landfill capacity is still an open issue. The Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi at the end of last year said that the Campania facilities for waste management could grant three years of autonomy to the Region but soon again the run to find new landfills started.

The result is that, currently, nothing is solved. Just one incinerator works (and not completely), and in Naples the differentiated waste disposal doesn’t work well as in the rest of the region.

Solving this problem is essential for the development of Campania.
Tourism is a very important business for this region and putting emphasis on it is essential for the rebirth of these territories, rich in natural resources, culture and historical monuments. A lot of European funds are available in this sector, but without a strong environment policy it is impossible for tourism to develop, and there will be no hope concerning a revival of the ancient Campania Felix.

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