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Trash-hit Naples returning to normality

Lasting solutions sought, problem persists in surrounding area

04 January, 17:55
Trash-hit Naples returning to normality (ANSA) - Naples, January 4 - Naples is returning to normality after months of toiling with a huge trash crisis, but the Italian government was holding a meeting with local officials Tuesday to find lasting solutions to a problem that persists in the surrounding area.

The southern city has largely been cleared of rubbish piles after the military were sent in to lend a hand during the Christmas holidays and other regions agreed to take some of it to ease the emergency. But thousands of tonnes of refuse still lie uncollected on streets in the province of Naples and the situation is especially bad in the towns of Melito, Casalnuovo, Giugliano, Pozzuoli and Quarto.

Cabinet Undersecretary Gianni Letta was due to meet Naples Mayor Rosa Russo Iervolino and other local representatives to establish the way forward.

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, who won kudos inside and outside Italy for resolving a similar crisis shortly after coming to power in 2008, has blamed local authorities for the crisis running on for so long.

He has said the local councils have not kept commitments to open new landfill sites and construct new incinerators.

The authorities are facing stronger hostility to dumps many believe are toxic than they did two years ago in the Naples area, which has had waste-disposal problems for many years.

Plans to open some new dumps in the area have been shelved after violent clashes with local residents.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, however, said he was optimistic after meeting Iervolino and Campania governor Stefano Caldoro and speaking on the telephone to Province of Naples President Luigi Cesaro on Monday.

''These three institutions have reached common positions on managing the refuse emergency and strategies to put the rubbish processing system up to speed,'' Napolitano said Tuesday.

''It seems to me that there's a highly constructive climate that gives us grounds to be hopeful''. A European Commission delegation scolded Italy after a visit to Naples in November, saying the situation did not appear to have improved compared to two years ago and that plans for rubbish processing and recycling were inadequate.