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European Commission - Press release

Environment: Commission urges Italy to resolve Campania waste management situation

Brussels, 29 September 2011. The Commission is urging Italy to find effective short and long-term waste management solutions for the Campania region. This region was subject to repetitive waste crises. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, a letter of formal notice is being sent, reminding Italy of its obligations and of the need to comply with a 2010 ruling by the EU Court of Justice. If Italy fails to comply, the Commission may bring the case back to the Court and ask for fines.

The waste crises in Naples and surrounding areas are a particular concern, endangering human health and the environment for several years already.

Despite some improvements since the Court's 2010 judgment, the Campania region still lacks an adequate network of waste management installations. Recurrent problems exist with the collection and disposal of waste in Naples and in several other Campania municipalities. Some 6 million tonnes of old baled waste still stored in temporary storage sites and awaiting final disposal or recovery add to the daily production of waste.

Between January and June 2011 the Italian authorities submitted several draft waste management plans, which should provide a framework for the setting up of the installations necessary to comply with the ruling. Their assessment shows that a great majority of these installations foreseen are still far from having been built and that the timetables provided by the Italian authorities are often too vague.

The Commission is concerned because little measures, including shipments, seem to be taken to ensure a smooth management of the Campania waste during the transitional period until all the installations foreseen become operational.


In 2007 an unprecedented and dramatic waste crisis in the Campania Region (Southern Italy) revealed a systemic failure in implementing the Regional Waste Management Plan. This caused serious environmental and health risks in the city of Naples and the surrounding territories, and lent greater urgency to the Commission's enquiries about bad application of the Directive 2006/12/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2006 on waste (see IP/08/151).

In 2010 the European Court of Justice condemned Italy for failing to set up an adequate and integrated waste management system in the Campania region (see IP/08/705).

The amount of waste created in the EU is constantly growing, with 3 billion tonnes of waste generated each year. The Waste Framework Directive aims to decouple economic growth from waste generation and sets a legal framework for waste treatment within the EU. The purpose is to protect the environment and human health through the prevention of the harmful effects of waste generation and waste management.

Further information:

Waste Framework Directive

See also:

Waste on Europa

For more information about EU 27 waste statistics, see:

For current statistics on infringements in general, see:

See also MEMO/11/646

Contacts :

Joe Hennon (+32 2 295 35 93)

Monica Westeren (+32 2 299 18 30)

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