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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 May, 2003, 18:49 GMT 19:49 UK
Rubbish revolt ignites Naples
Rubbish burning in Italian streets
Refuse has become a burning issue

Angry residents in the southern Italian city of Naples and nearby towns have begun to take the law into their own hands and started setting fire to huge amounts of rubbish left rotting in the streets.

Local waste disposal services have been unable to cope with the huge amounts of household waste generated in the region every day.

Two giant incinerator plants were supposed to be completed this year, but construction has been delayed. Local pressure groups are fighting to stop the building.

About 20,000 tons of refuse have built up in the streets over the last two weeks, giving rise to health fears.

And the health hazard has led to the closure of local schools and markets.

So Naples and the surrounding areas have been enduring "hellish nights" as residents set fire to hundreds of overflowing garbage containers, Italy's Radio Popolare reports.

The fires have caused more problems, with people poisoned by the "toxic and foul-smelling smoke".

Rubbish bin burning
Smoke fumes are causing problems

On Friday, the government gave special powers to the regional governor to tackle the problem.

One solution is to move some of the rubbish to other regions for disposal, but that is unlikely to happen soon according to Italian TV.

It speculated that the fires might not just be the work of "exasperated residents". They could have been put up to it.

The waste disposal business in Naples has had links to organised crime in the past, and Italian TV suggests criminal elements could now be trying to "exploit an intolerable situation" to resume their lucrative business.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Country profile: Italy
06 May 03  |  Country profiles
Rubbish 'massive problem' in UK
06 May 03  |  Politics


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