Nukewatch Quarterly Winter 2013-2014
Nukewatch Quarterly has reported previously on illegal dumping of toxic waste by the Italian Mafia. Now, the environmental group Legambiente reports that about 31,000 environmental crimes were committed in 2010, and nearly half involved illegal disposal of radioactive and industrial waste. The majority of the waste was dumped in Campania, a region around Naples — Italy’s third largest city — and sadly the repercussions of this unregulated dumping are registering in the form of an increased number of cancers reported around the dumping area.
The Italian Senate has begun an investigation into the rise in the number of tumors being diagnosed in Campania. The BBC reports, “Two decades ago doctors noticed that the incidence of cancer in towns around Naples was on the rise. Since then, the number of tumors found in women has risen by 40%, and those in men by 47%.”
The details of the illegal dumping came to light when ex-Mafia boss Carmine Schiavone was overcome with guilt at the environmental damage he was causing and decided to turn informant. Schiavone turned on his cousin Francesco Schiavone — the head of Camorra, a secret society of criminals loosely based in Naples — and revealed that the mafia family had disposed of contaminated waste all over Southern Italy. They dumped in Lake Lucrino, coastal areas, pastures and 520 drums of toxic waste were even buried in a specially dug quarry. The BBC reported that Legambiente has alleged that 30 or more ships, stuffed with radioactive waste, may have been sunk off the Calabrian coast in suspicious circumstances over the past 20 years. Schiavone also said that radioactive sludge was brought in on trucks from facilities in Germany and dumped haphazardly in landfills at night. Schiavone said, “We disposed of … millions and millions of tons.”
— The Independent, June 8; BBC, Oct. 29; and The (London) Daily Mail, Nov. 1, 2013 — PVB