The chronic problem of waste disposal in Naples flared into violence for another night on Saturday (October 23).
On the fourth night of scuffles, police faced demonstrators who threw firecrackers and set cars on fire near the entry to a landfill site in Terzigno, on the outskirts of Naples.
Hundreds of tones of garbage lie uncollected in the streets after a dispute erupted over a new dump near Terzigno, where the existing facility is full and where residents complain about the stench and toxic waste.
The dump was opened last year as a stop-gap solution for rubbish from Italy's third largest city, where organized crime, inefficiency and political opportunism have turned waste disposal into a chronic emergency.
The head of the Italian Civil Protection Agency, Guido Bertolaso, blamed unspecified outsiders for stirring up the trouble:
"We have, naturally, set a precondition that all the protests must immediately end before we sign any agreements. Also because these protests are partly fed by people coming from outside, because there clearly are citizens in these municipalities who are worried and have expressed in a totally civilized, democratic and a correct way their dissent and their concern. It is clear to me that people coming from outside (this territory) have got in to use that dissent in their interests," he said.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has promised to spend 14 million euros to upgrade the Terzigno dump and said there was no threat to public health from the site. But residents are skeptical.
The medical journal Lancet Oncology in 2004 dubbed part of the Campania region, of which Naples is the capital, "the triangle of death" because the air, soil and water were polluted by high levels of cancer-causing toxins believed to have come from the waste.