Toxic waste scandal hits Italy


It’s the equivalent of flytipping, but out at sea, and it concern materials so dangerous ìt threatens the already strained Mediterranean. The discovery of a shipload of toxic and nuclear waste scuttled off the Italian coast by the Calabrian mafia is just the tip of the iceberg. At least 32 other wrecks await investigation as police widen their investigation.

The Cunsky lies in 500 metres of water, and her cargo of 120 barrels of radioactive waste has begun to spill out onto the seabed. Thanks to mafia informer Francesco Fonti, politicians, civil servants and businessmen are being accused of 20 years of criminal activity.

A midget submarine is trying to identify where the cocktail of deadly waste comes from, but earaly indicataions say it’s from outside Italy. The discovery bears out claims made by environmental activists for nearly two decades, and is not limited to Italian organised crime or the Med.

“We have this problem but it’s a problem for the international community, too. The Mediterranean is less than one per cent of the world’s seas. In this tiny area we have over 30 scuttled wrecks with toxic waste. Imagine what there could be elsewhere,” said Silvestro Greco.

Greco will give evidence to one of two parliamentary inquiries on September 24th. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has set up a ministerial crisis team, but voices are being raised asking will he declare a national environmental emergency or natural disaster, and visit the area himself?

It has also been revealed a medical report has been kept quiet for years revealing a jump in illnesses, particularly cancer, in the region over the last 15 years. With rival mafia gangs using disused petrol stations and any available indoor space to dump toxic waste, there are fears of severe long-term health risks throughout the south of Italy.

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