Trash Overwhelms Naples

Italian Army struggles to bulldoze massive heaps of garbage
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2008 2:40 PM CST
Unidentified residents push uncollected garbage into the middle of the streets in Naples' Sanita' neighborhood, southern Italy, Friday, Jan. 4, 2008 in what reports said was a provocation to authorities...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Italian army has been brought in to clear away some of the mountains of trash blanketing the area around Naples. The region's garbage crisis, which has festered for years, reached crisis proportions when all waste-collection stopped before Christmas. Meanwhile, protesters are trying, in occasionally violent clashes, to stop the reopening of a dump closed in 1996, Reuters reports.

More than 100,000 tons of trash have piled up in the area. The waste-collection business in the region is tightly controlled by the Mafia, which is trying to stretch out the crisis to its own benefit. Some protesters are setting trash piles on fire, raising health concerns, and PM Romano Prodi has called emergency meetings about the issue.