Firework fans in Naples have named the latest addition to their New Year arsenal ‘The Budget‘ because of its hard-hitting effect, like the budget law.
”It costs 250 euros and can blow up a whole building,” said a doctor leading a prevention scheme in Italy’s most firework-mad city.
The latest rockets and firecrackers – now mostly made in China – named Bin Laden, Ratzinger and Maradona Bomb, are ”extremely dangerous”. ”These are full-blown explosives”, doctors said.
Residents of the Campania region, where the streets of many towns have been lined with uncollected trash for weeks, pay some of the highest rubbish taxes in Italy. At 264 euros a year, the average refuse tax in the region surrounding Naples is 60 euros higher than the national average, according to a study by consumer rights group Cittadinanzattiva.
In the town of Caserta, the ‘Tarsu’ tax is 393 euros, almost four times what residents pay in Reggio Calabria, on the toe of the Italian boot.
The figures were released as the Italian parliament prepared to approve an emergency decree aimed at solving the Campania trash crisis by identifying four new sites for dumps and giving state officials special powers to take decisive action. The trash disposal system in the Naples province practically ground to a halt earlier this year when the main dumps and treatment plants were declared full or overloaded.
Naples’ ever-resourceful scooter riders have found a new way to get out of fines for not wearing helmets: claiming they’re depressed. A rash of very similar cases – at least ten – have occurred over the last two weeks, local daily Il Mattino reported on Tuesday.
The young offenders have been trooping into courts armed with doctor’s certificates stating they are “depressed or under unusual stress,” it said.
Pressure groups from around Naples protested in Rome last Wednesday against the illegal dumping by Mafia-controlled businesses of millions of tons of toxic waste that they say is to blame for a rise in the number of tumours among local residents. Environmentalists, doctors and local officials from what has come to be known as the “Triangle of Death” gathered outside the Senate (a few hours before Prodi’s government fall) to voice their anger at the government, which was criticized for not doing enough to resolve the prolonged crisis. “We have been screaming for years now and we have obtained nothing. Officials are simply ignoring us”, said Alex Zanotelli, a local priest.