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Lazio region appeals to high court to save rubbish plan

Lazio tries to cut off new crisis in Rome's rubbish threat

10 January, 15:17
Lazio region appeals to high court to save rubbish plan (ANSA) - Rome, January 10 - Lazio's regional administration will fight to the last for its rejected garbage disposal plan, as it announced on Thursday that it will immediately appeal to Italy's highest administrative court, the Council of State, to save it.

Rubbish could start piling up in Rome's streets in a crisis reminiscent of the problems Naples has had in recent years if a new dump site is not found, Environment Minister Corrado Clini warned last fall.

Clini presented a draft decree on Monday to ward off a rubbish emergency in the capital, which would designate space in regional facilities for waste coming from Rome province. On Wednesday, however, Lazio's garbage woes thickened when the Lazio Regional Administrative Court threw out the regional administration's 2011-2017 waste management plan, passed in January 2012.

The Lazio court ruled in favor of the Green Party's complaint that European Commission (EC) had already found Lazio in violation of European rules when it came to waste management.

Lazio's administration countered on Thursday that EC had, in fact, lifted its sanction, which dated back to 2007, thanks to the measures outlined in January 2012 plan. The Lazio administration quoted an EC commission ruling which found the plans "in line with European legislation".

"It astonishes, therefore, that (the Lazio court) maintains that those same norms were violated," the Lazio administration's statement said. The Lazio court argued that the EC's assessment had been correct when it concluded that the region's waste management did not go far enough to abate dangers to human health and to the environment, but only reduced the volume and dangerous contents of the rubbish.

Lazio Green Party President Nando Bonessio complained that Lazio's waste management plan was based on "landfills and incinerators in the Lazio region, where they passed-off shredding and sorting as treatment". The Lazio court also chucked out the regional government's claim that it had already curtailed the quantity of its waste and reached a 2012 goal of 65% differentiated trash collection for recycling. The Lazio court wrote, "The official data of (the State's environmental research institute) ISPRA…show a different trend from that which was taken into consideration by the regional administration, indicating a constant annual rise in the production of regional waste." Regional technicians are currently investigating this finding.

ßßßß The Italian capital has been on the verge of having trash problems for some time with its huge dump at Malagrotta filled to well beyond capacity and local administrators, environmental groups and residents unable to agree on an alternative.

ßßßß A commissioner for the rubbish emergency, Prefect Goffredo Sottile, was brought in by the technocrat government of Mario Monti to handle the emergency and locate new space for Rome's trash.

ßßßß ''On January 1, 2013 we risk having rubbish in the streets of Rome,'' Sottile declared in late October.