Italian rubbish – possibly 60,000 tons of it – to be buried in Portugal

It’s an “unprecedented situation” which sees environmentalists questioning how it is being checked. A deal to ‘treat’ 20,000 tons of Italian rubbish in Portugal – with possibly 40,000 tons more to follow – is full of ‘grey areas’, reports RTP news.

As the first batch of 2,736 tons has already arrived in the port of Setúbal on board the Vento di Tramontana cargo vessel, RTP explains that APA, the Portuguese environment agency, which “authorises” these kind of operations “did not inform the environmental general inspectorate” nor did it “inspect” the mountains of refuse on board “because it trusts in the analysis by Italian entities”.

The trouble with this explanation, the report explains, is that Italy is a “risk country” when it comes to the way it treats its waste.

The sector has been controlled for years by the Neapolitan ‘Camorra’ mafia, and their management of it has been “the target of public demonstrations”.

Thus environmentalists in Portugal say the country should be on the alert.

“At the very least, because this is an exceptional situation – something that has never happened before, indeed a quantity of rubbish greater than anything we have taken in previously – there should be more a detailed accompaniment by Portuguese authorities”, Francisco Ferreira, president of Association Zero told RTP.

“We are not talking about spending an immense amount of money to find out what this shipment contains”, Ferreira explained. “But we need to know that at least some samples are taken by authorities here to confirm that everything is all right”.

For now, it looks like the rubbish will simply end up going into landfill as authorities have assured RTP that everything is going according to European Community rules and regulations.

As RTP concludes, this kind of business is not illegal in Portugal, even though we have never before seen such a large amount of another country’s waste – to be treated at the nearby CITRI plant – enter the country before.

The deal, brokered through SAPEC ports authority, envisages the arrival of another 17,000 tons of Italian rubbish, with possibly as much as 60,000 tons “throughout the year”.

RTP explains the refuse comes from Italy’s Campânia region where over six million tons of waste has been allowed to accumulate “without a solution for treatment for several years”.

The station added that the operation was a way of avoiding a whopping EU fine (due at the rate of €120,000 per day) for contaminating the environment, “especially in Naples”.

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