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Brussels, 26 November 2010

Statement by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik on the ongoing waste crisis in Campania (Italy)

I have received a preliminary report from the delegation that visited Campania this week. The report confirms that the measures needed to execute the ruling issued by the European Court of Justice in March are not yet in place.

I remain concerned that it will still take several years to set up the infrastructure needed to ensure that all the waste produced in Campania – 7200 tonnes per day – is adequately managed and to prevent further waste crises. Although some progress has been made by building the Acerra incinerator, there are significant gaps in the system. The lack of separate collection of waste in Naples – the biggest agglomeration in the region – is a matter of particular concern.

In the absence of an effective waste management plan for Campania, the danger to human health and damage to the environment to which the Court made explicit reference in its ruling, will continue. This would oblige the Commission to eventually return to the Court, with the likely outcome being the imposition of fines.

In order to execute the ruling and to avoid the imposition of fines, the Campania authorities need to adopt as a matter of urgency a new waste management plan. The plan must

  • be fully compliant with the relevant requirements under EU environmental law and give priority to waste reduction, reuse and recycling,

  • ensure implementation of separate collection in the whole region,

  • provide Campania with the necessary composting capacity,

  • establish measures for the safe disposal in a reasonable timeframe of the almost 8 million tonnes of baled waste which are deposited in several storage sites in Campania.

It is of paramount importance that all the competent authorities and all the political parties in Campania act consistently in order to ensure the quick adoption of this plan and its actual implementation, which must be secured by allocating the necessary resources.

It is very important that the new waste management plan is the outcome of a fully inclusive and transparent process to achieve its broad ownership and support by all citizens in the region.

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