In the first strong legislative
response to the dumping crisis in the southern region of Campania, President
Giorgio Napolitano signed an emergency law on Thursday to tackle environmental
crimes and the damage produced by the illegal dumping or burning of waste.
Under the new law, burning garbage without authorization is a crime punishable
by up to five years in prison. In the vast area north of Naples where the
Camorra mafia has buried toxic waste for decades, health and environmental
authorities will have to carry out tests on the agricultural fields to measure
the toxicity levels in the soil. Parliament allocated about $676 million for
the cleanup, and police officers or soldiers will conduct antidumping patrols.
The law includes measures to clean up the environmental damage produced by a
steel plant in the southern city of Taranto.