WWF gathers 37,000 signatures against Pantelleria oil drills
Delivered to mayor of pristine island in Sicilian Channel29 October, 17:30
The petition calls for a protected marine area to be set up instead.
"We need development and opportunity", said Salvatore Gino Gabriele, mayor of the 83-square-meter volcanic island lying just 60 kilometers east of the Tunisian coast. "If a majority of citizens want a protected marine area, the city council should take action. We could also have a referendum, should a committee come up with a solution we can all share and debate".
"Almost 39,000 people want Pantelleria protected", said WWF Italy official Marco Costantini. "It is now up to government to decide whether to respect the popular will, guaranteeing an uncontaminated, healthy sea for tuna fish, sea turtles, fin whales, and migratory birds, but also for all the fishermen, sailors, tourists, and the Mediterranean economies and traditions that cannot do without it".
Three oil platforms are currently active in the Strait of Sicily with an average annual production of 280,000 tons of crude oil extracted from 35 wells, according to the WWF.