Environmental Justice in Italy
The "Waste" Land
By Francesca Rosignoli, 2015-11-17
The Eternal City is going to face the challenge of the forthcoming Jubilee: the extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy will be solemnly inaugurated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on December 8, 2015.

According to the Censis Report, the "Jubilee effect" will be quite dramatic in terms of waste production and above all in terms of waste management. Censis has estimated that 33 million expected visitors in Rome (including tourists, pilgrims and visitors without overnight, arriving in Rome during the Holy Year) will correspond to an additional amount of municipal waste of 23,000 tons. Such amount of garbage will then largely burden a small area of the city (likely the city center) and on some days of the year.

A current survey conducted by Censis shows that the citizens' perception regarding the quality of the collection of waste has already one of the worst rate compared to other european cities. In fact, whereas only 5% of Romans consider the collection of waste as the municipal service that work best, 61% of the Romans believe that the city is dirtier, than two years ago, to 33% the situation is remained unchanged, and only 6% think that the city is cleaner than before.

Surprisingly, despite of the negative citizen's perception, the data reported by Ama (Rome's waste management company), are more optimistic. As Daniele Fortini (President, Ama) reported during the National Meeting on Waste, today Rome has reached 43% of recycling rate, one of the highest among the european capitals.

However, the dire conditions of Rome, with rubbish and empty boxes abandoned in the corners of the city are a fact well-known even around the world, being featured on the front pages of The New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel. Rome is having troubles at navigating the transitional phase coming after the shutdown, in October 2013, of the Malagrotta dump, the biggest landfill in Europe, owned by entrepreneur Manlio Cerroni.

Taking into account the statistical data and those considerations, we can surmise that If they can't go abroad, Romans can probably only pray!
Image: © Rosignoli