Problem of Waste Disposal in a Large European City: Garbage in Naples

Author: Corona, Gabriella
This essay owes its significance to a carefully constructed case study. It examines environmental policies in one particular city, Naples, Italy. But it shows events that could happen anywhere. Re-establishing the cycle of nature through recycling is an exceptionally difficult task. These authors show how the people of Naples attempted to establish environmentally sound policy initiatives by considering all possible solutions. After much deliberation they opted for more efficient methods of waste disposal.

The waste disposal issue in Naples has been at the center of media attention. It raises questions about whether Italy is threatened by a garbage crisis. Taking cues from other countries, Naples discovered that it could incorporate aggressive measures to reduce its waste. The events described in the book start in Naples but extend to Italy and Europe as well.

The two authors of this book are an environmental historian and a waste management expert of international standing. They engage in a straightforward and serene discussion, resulting in a one-of-a-kind work that leaves bias and ideology behind. The complexity of the issue is a result of the speed at which modern society has developed.

The book addresses the inability of the ruling classes to keep up with its frenetic growth rate. Northern and Southern Italy answered the problems of waste disposal in different ways. Hence the need for a debate on the real problems posed by the management of collective property and environmental resources. In conclusion the authors look at future prospects and suggest practical solutions.


“The merit of this book is its realistic, technical, and non-ideological examination of a question that is central to any modern society.”
-Prof. Paolo Malanima,
Italian Council of Research

“Written as a dialogue, Corona’s questions and introductions allow the reader to form a non-superficial picture to better make sense of Fortini’s technical explanations. The importance and usefulness of the book lies in the fact that it looks at the history of waste disposal in general.”
-Prof. Luigi Musella,
Frederico II University

“The authors discuss the need to change our economic model to take account of the problem of erosion and depletion of our natural capita.”
-Prof. David Newman,
President, International Solid Waste Association

Table of Contents

Foreword by Paolo Malanima
1. A Controversial Decision
1.1. The reasons for the crisis
1.2. The 1997 plan
1.3. An unwritten pact

2. Why not look up to Europe?
2.1. Energy from waste
2.2. Who are the polluters?

3. The contruction of common sense
3.1. The interpretations of parliamentary commissions
3.2. Legality

4. The rhetoric of environmentalism
4.1. The limits of recycling
4.2. The cost of household waste sorting
4.3. Italy’s records

5. Stereotypes, “North-centrism” and misinterpretation
5.1. Representations
5.2. A Question of trust
5.3. Who are the controllers?
5.4. Criminal infiltration
5.5. Toxic waste and polluting companies

6. Conflict
6.1. The energy recovery plant
6.2. Dioxin
6.3. Reliability
6.4. A long mobilization
6.5. Waste and democracy

7. Waste, nature, and development
7.1 Bioenergies
7.2 Waste and nature as a system
7.3 The regeneration of matter
7.4 How should we grow?

8. Gaps
8.1. The fragility of the South
8.2. Scenarios
8.3. Is the emergency over?
8.4. An unresolved issue

Index of Names
Index of Topics