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. Berlusconi opens Naples incinerator

by Staff Writers
Naples, Italy (AFP) March 26, 2009
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Thursday opened a waste incinerator near the southern city of Naples, where thousands of tonnes of rotting rubbish regularly piled up.

Berlusconi had pledged last year that the incinerator at Acerra, the building of which had been suspended for eight years, would enter service to deal with the mountains of waste invading Naples and the surrounding Campania region.

It is the first in the region and will burn 600,000 tonnes of waste a year, generating enough energy to power 200,000 households.

Four other incinerators will also enter service in a region that for 15 years has been deemed to be experiencing a "waste state of emergency."

The commissioning of the incinerator "is the point of departure for solving all Campania's problems," Berlusconi said, while acknowledging there was "still some way to go."

Police kept at a distance several hundred demonstrators, according to the ANSA news agency. Backed by environmentalist organisations they claim that the incinerator is an "ecological bomb."

The Roman Catholic bishop of Naples Monsignor Giovanni Rinaldi refused to bless the plant, as tradition required, to show his opposition to the project.

He believes that the waste will be burnt without having been previously sorted and that the incineration poses a danger to health and the environment.

Organised crime in the region, in the form of the Camorra, has been identified as contributing to the lack of incinerators, the absence of dumps and the failure to sort waste.

It is accused of infiltrating the lucrative waste management industry. kd-pho/jflm/sj/rt

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People of Athens fight for green space amid sea of concrete
Athens (AFP) March 26, 2009
It is one of the most built up cities in Europe. Now fed-up residents of Athens -- enraged by the pro-development attitude of their politicians and emboldened by recent anti-government riots -- are taking matters into their own hands.

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