Huge fire at Rome rubbish facility

Blaze under control but problems in store for refuse management

(ANSA) - Rome, December 11 - A large fire broke overnight at a waste facility managed by Rome municipal trash company AMA.
    The fire at the 2,000-square-metre rubbish centre produced thick smoke on via Salaria, in the north of the historic capital, and the smell of smoke reached the centre.
    Firefighters have brought the blaze under control but it will take some time to put the fire out completely.
    The city council has advised people in the area to keep their windows closed and refrain from outdoor activities such as jogging. The local authority said Lazio's ARPA environmental agency had not registered air-pollution levels outside the permitted parameters. Prosecutors have opened in probe to determine the cause of the fire.
    But aside from the effects of the blaze, the loss of a facility that processes a big chuck of the capital's waste that residents have been separated for recycling looks set to cause big problems for trash management.
    "The plant should have been closed before," said the head of the borough in the area of Rome affected, Giovanni Caudo, a long-standing opponent of the Tmb Salario plant, who shut a nearby nursery school as a precautionary measure.
    "Obviously nothing more can come here and we'll all have to seriously work together so that the trash that does not come here does not end up in the street. "Almost 25% of Rome's separated trash for recycling came here.
    "It is impossible to get the TMB working again because the machinery is compromised". Stefano Laporta, the head of the Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPR), echoed those sentiments.
    "Once the fire is out, it will be possible to establish the cause," said Laporta. "The fire is serious but what is worrying is the management of refuse in Rome in the coming days". Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi made an appeal to "all the cities of Lazio and of the other regions to cooperate at this time, especially as it is before Christmas, to support AMA to resolve this situation temporarily and as soon as possible".