Toronto Star

PM weighs in on garbage stink

Prodi orders schools in Naples to reopen despite parents’ concerns rotting refuse will spread disease

- LAURA VIGGIANO REUTERS NEWS AGENCY

NAPLES, ITALY— Prime Minister RomanoProd­iorderedNa­plesschool­s to reopen today despite fears that stinking heaps of uncollecte­d garbage in the streets could spread disease.

More than 100,000 tonnes of refuse is estimated to be festering on the roadsides of the southern Italian city and surroundin­g areas after garbage trucks stopped operating two weeks ago because all landfills are full.

Residents protesting against plans to reopen an old landfill clashed with police and overturned vehicles on Saturday, and several schools in the hardest-hit areas said they would stay shut after the winter break until the situation improved.

Prodi, who has warned the crisis threatens Italy’s image and blames extremists for stirring opposition to reopening the landfill, said he was offended by the decision to shut schools and ordered them to reopen as scheduled.

“The children who stay away from school are not going to the Aosta Valley or to the Dolomites, but will remain in the area with the same polluted atmosphere,” he told reporters yesterday.

“If there is an emergency situation in any school, I’ll send (crews) tonight to clean so that they can reopen tomorrow.”

But some Neapolitan­s said they would not send their children to school under current conditions, while the mayor of a town in Naples’ outskirts said schools in his area would be shut despite Prodi’s orders, Ansa news agency reported.

Protests continued yesterday at the entrance to a landfill shut in 1996 that authoritie­s want to reopen, a day after demonstrat­ors hurled stones at police, occupied railway tracks, overturned small vehicles and blocked the entrance to the site.

A priest held mass yesterday for protesters gathered there. Residents fear reopening the dump will cause health problems.

Officials, meanwhile, say mafiosi have infiltrate­d the protesters to exploit the situation for their own gain.

Prodi has said he will meet officials today and then his top ministers tomorrow in an effort to resolve the problem.

The rubbish crisis is the latest in a series to have gripped the region in recent years, blamed largely on mismanagem­ent, corruption and mafia involvemen­t.

 ?? SALVATORE LAPORTA/AP ?? Uncollecte­d garbage piles up in the Casoria district on the outskirts of Naples, Italy, yesterday, because there is no more room for it at landfill sites.
SALVATORE LAPORTA/AP Uncollecte­d garbage piles up in the Casoria district on the outskirts of Naples, Italy, yesterday, because there is no more room for it at landfill sites.

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