Naples stinks

The trash crisis in Naples is an emblematic example of how things work (or not) in Italy.

In simple terms, the so called emergenza rifiuti (trash crisis) means that since Dec/2007 the city of Naples is not collecting trash properly. As a consequence, tons of uncollected trash are dispersed along city streets, causing many problems to the residents.

Regarding the emergenza rifiuti, we have the typical Italian approach to problem solving:

  • Everybody complains about the problem;
  • Everybody agrees that such crisis is unacceptable;
  • Everybody suspects that Mafia (in this case Camorra) is involved;
  • Everybody has a strong opinion on how to solve the situation;
  • Nobody does anything to effectively solve the problem;

At the bottom line, everybody sees the problem as something inevitable and unsolvable. The problem becomes something naturally permanent. And nobody needs to take care of it. It is amazing, isn’t it?

But, what is really behind the trash crisis?

  • Naples’ dumps are now full. Although that takes years to happen, the city was unable to prepare new dumps or other alternatives during this period.
  • The trash collecting system is somehow controlled by Camorra.
  • Citizens from the neighbor cities do not want to receive Naples trash, a solution that was used before, but is considered short-lived.
  • The Italian governments, local, regional and national, are paralyzed.

The emergenza rifiuti is not something unexpected neither new. It is not a natural disaster. It is not something complex to solve. It requires some planning, some good sense and a lot of willingness to work. But to Italy it is like to send a man to Jupiter. Trash crisis shows how Italy is running fast toward Third World.

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