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Camorra 'killed our kids' mothers tell president

Napolitano asked for help against Naples' toxic-waste mobsters

22 January, 14:02
Camorra 'killed our kids' mothers tell president (ANSA) - Rome, January 22 - Protesters led by their parish priest and carrying photos of their dead children rallied outside Rome's presidential palace Wednesday, demanding action against the Camorra mafia and its burning of toxic waste.

Efforts thus far by the Italian government to fight the environmental crimes of the so-called Ecomafia, in an area dubbed the "terra dei fuochi" or lands of fire, are not enough, said Father Maurizio Patriciello of Caivano, just north of Naples.

He travelled to the Quirinal Palace with a group of mothers of children killed by pollution-linked cancer to lobby President Giorgio Napolitano for his help. In December, the Italian government passed a decree called the "land of fires" measures, which makes burning waste a crime in an effort to reclaim land where toxic waste is burned by the mafia.

Illegal waste-management practices are a growing problem in Italy, particularly in the southern Campania region where the powerful Camorra mafia has been blamed for contributing to the waste-management crisis that has become an environmental disaster. Last week, the government said it wants to use the army to stop the dumping of toxic waste in the area between Naples and Caserta.

"Health care is the part that is missing in the (government's) 2013 decree," against pollution created by illegal waste dumps that have been created by the mafia, said Patriciello.

"The fires are not finished and will never end...The real issue is what and who burns, and who is responsible".

Although families do not want to leave their homes in southern Italy, "the whole system is not working anymore," said Patriciello.

He urged the Naples-born Napolitano to help the region of his birth.

"We hope something can be done , that you will raise your voice". In January 2008, the region suffered a collapse in the rubbish-collection system.

Despite drafting in the army to clear the streets, reopening old dumps and moving containers of waste out of Campania by ship and train, an estimated 40,000 tonnes of rubbish continued to line the region's streets.