Dealing with food security in Italy might seem someway useless, because our country is considered whealthy and developed enough not to face any problem of such kind. But then I remembered of a report I saw on the televison a few years ago, which was definitely on topic, and I thought it was worthing to further research on it. The report was about pollution related to unappropriate, illegal disposal of toxic waste, and the bad consequences it brought to sheep-breeding.
This sad history takes place in Naples and the Campania region of Southern Italy, which is relatively close to where I live (a couple of hours by train), but it involves the entire country. In 1994, the European Union deemed
Naples's garbage situation an official environmental emergency;
however, things have only gotten worse since then.
The Campania region is backdrop to the biggest criminal and environmental emergencies in Italy. The
Camorra, Italy's most powerful and dangerous Mafia element, has been controlling the waste-management industry for decades in collusion with the corrupt Neapolitan government. Toxic waste from every part of Italy (mostly from the north, especially the region of Veneto) were collected and directed to the so-called "triangle of death", an agricultural area which is also home to a rubbish dump that is supposed to be shut, but is secretly in operation. There, the waste was disposed without any precaution and the consequences were soon revealed.
The number of birth defects in the area has risen by 83 per cent in the
past decade. Alessandro Cannavacciuolo, a farmer whose father and uncle died from cancer last year, said: "Five years ago, my family had 2,500 sheep, and now we have only 250 left. The animals eat poisoned grass and drink poisoned water and they give birth to monsters." During the past eight years several livestock farms (sheep, cattle and river buffalo) in the provinces of Naples and Caserta (southern Italy)
have been unable to sell their milk and other dairy products due to the levels of dioxins (17 different types) present in the milk mass exceeding the value permitted. While some farms, especially those showing relatively low levels of dioxins, have managed to reduce the dioxins in the milk below the permitted threshold by changing the diet, many, especially sheep farms, have failed to do so. Indeed, about 12,000 head of cattle, river buffaloes and sheep have so far been culled. Furthermore, high levels of mortality and abnormal foetuses were recorded in one of the two farms when compared with the control. Here you can find technical details: mutage.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/21/1/67 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16434450
In Rome, an absence of landfill sites has spurred local politicians to
claim that the city is about to suffer similar problems. Sales of Neapolitan mozzarella, made in nearby Caserta from buffalo milk, have
plunged by 40 per cent. Shoppers are afraid that the animals are eating grass laden with dioxins. Sales of local wine and olive oil have also dipped, and supermarkets are hastily removing the region's "Made in
Campania" labels from products.
What hurts me the most, as an Italian citizen, is that solutions to such issues (as I'm asked to report them by this EVOKE mission) already exist, they're just not adopted. There would be no need for innovative ideas, no new technologies to avoid this. It would be sufficient just to keep within the law, to respect people and the environment.
Easy to say but, apparently, not to put in action, in our country.
I thought that adding a video about what such illegal practices can cause was important but, please, AVOID WATCHING THIS IF YOU'RE IMPRESSIONABLE OR EASILY FRIGHTENED
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