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Too Much Trash

DW staff (kjb)
April 2, 2008

Germany is reportedly the only EU country with sufficient capacity to help Italy out with its massive trash problem. It has inked a deal to dispose of up to 160,000 tons of Neapolitan waste -- for a tidy price.

Garbage pile in a suburb of Naples
Scenes like this have driven tourists away from what used to be a popular destinationImage: picture-alliance/ dpa

Italian representatives closed the deal with Germany's state environment ministries, according to a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Up to 60,000 tons of trash will be removed from the streets of Naples and shipped to Germany for incineration; another 100,000 tons will be made up of household waste.

Hamburg's commercial waste disposal service SRH has already agreed to take 30,000 tons at a price of 150 euros ($235) per ton. North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, will handle 54,000 tons.

Including transport, the cost of removal could add up to 200 to 230 euros per ton, FAZ reported, putting a price tag of up to 37 million euros on the whole deal.

The eastern German state of Saxony and the northern port city of Bremerhaven previously made separate trash disposal agreements before the last deal.

Help in a pinch

Two chefs and a pizza
Dioxins found in Italian mozzarella was linked to waste contaminationImage: AP

A spokesman for the federal environment ministry told the paper that Germany was the only EU country with the capacity to dispose of mass quantities of Italian waste, but emphasized that it was an emergency and not a long-term arrangement.

"It will and should not turn into a permanent situation that Italy disposes of waste in Germany," the spokesman said.

Italy's rubbish crisis peaked in December when Campania's landfill sites were declared full and trash began to pile up on the streets. The Italian government then gave former police chief Gianni De Gennaro a 120-day mandate to clean up the mess which has led to sagging tourist rates.

While the streets in downtown Naples have been cleared, the suburbs are reportedly still littered with garbage.