The Italian city of Naples is known globally to be a fascinating city. But its surroundings are also known for its dumping locations managed by Italian Mafia. The latter worked for years, in utmost secrecy, jointly with various Italian enterprises, and arguably with the Italian government as well, to dump the toxic garbage in said locations, avoiding enterprises high bills to dispose of their trash in a toxic-free manner. Now, part of that waste has been exported to Morocco after an agreement between the two governments was struck, and since the news made room in Morocco, the wave of fury is only growing more and more.
In a seizure of guilt and attempt to compensate for his villainous deeds in the past, Carmine Schiavone, an Italian former Mafiosi leader, admitted to having witnessed and supervised the disposal of waste (nuclear waste included) coming from various countries to Naples in 1997. His confession wasn’t made public until 2014 when the wave of discontent and pressure by Italians on the Italian government reached its apex. Schiavone confessed that his ex-mafia network, which was located in Naples, turned this part of the country into a dumping place under the protection and blessing of the state. Influential Italian personalities, including the back-then infamous president Berlusconi, allegedly took part in this scheme, as Shiavone said. Shiavone also claimed that the toxic waste led to the death of many people who were exposed to it, let alone life-threatening diseases at the very least.
After many years of public outrage in Italy, and following the significant amount of pressure leveled at the face of the Italian government to get rid of that waste, the latter stroke a historical and quite controversial deal with the Moroccan state, one which saw initially 2500 tons of plastic materials and rubber remnants of car wheels reach the Moroccan territory. As soon as the news made room among mainstream Moroccans, public outrage erupted and a wave of criticism ensued; Moroccans accused the Moroccan government of double standards, since it has recently launched a campaign against plastic bags (Zero Mika, no plastic bags) and issued a law by which it has not only criminalized the use, possession or manufacture of plastic bags, but will also fine people who violate this law. While strictly prohibiting plastic bags and mobilizing people by all means to not use them because of their harm on environment and people, the Moroccan government agreed, after filling its funds with millions of Euros from the Italian government, to be a Italy’s trash dump.
In a study that costed the US navy US $30 million, the American authorities found out that much of the dumping locations in Naples were highly contaminated with toxic substances, with some locations even showing high levels of Uranium waste. The waste which landed on the Moroccan soil few days ago certainly came from places where the US study was conducted. Given that the Moroccan Ministry of Environment issued a communiqué to sooth down public outrage, a communiqué where it stated that the imported garbage “is not dangerous,” I am legitimately asking myself the following questions: is the waste Morocco received really Toxic-free? Will the money received from Italy in exchange sufficient to heal those who might be affected by cancer or other life threatening diseases? Did the government hire a committee of specialists to investigate the content of the waste and to analyze the consequences of its disposing of in Morocco? My questions will probably be left unanswered.