EU takes Italy back to court over illegal landfills

October 24, 2012
Cars pass by mountains of uncollected trash in Naples in 2008. The European Commission said Wednesday it was hauling Italy back to court to seek a large fine after the country failed to clear up more than 250 landfills, some of them holding hazardous waste.

The European Commission said Wednesday it was hauling Italy back to court to seek a large fine after the country failed to clear up more than 250 landfills, some of them holding hazardous waste.

Italy has failed to make good on a 2007 European Court of Justice ruling ordering it to clear up hundreds of legal and unregulated waste tips, the Commission said, announcing it would try again and seek a lump-sum fine of 56 million euros ($73 million).

The Commission is also asking the court to level a daily penalty of more than 250,000 euros from the date of the second ruling until the problem is completely cleared up, it said in a statement.

It said there were 255 landfill sites, of which 16 contained , after Italy managed to clear just 31 following the 2007 ruling.

Worse still, there were currently clean-up plans for only 132 of the sites.

The Commission "has received no information proving that Italy has set up an adequate monitoring system to prevent new illegal from being opened," it added.

Italy is notorious for the problems it has in dealing with waste.

Major cities such as Rome and Naples are plagued by the problem of unregulated or illegal landfills, while the situation is made worse by the involvement of organised crime in the business.

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