Rome faces health crisis as garbage problem grows

Published 04.10.2019 02:03

Rome is once again facing a serious garbage problem, amid doctors' warnings that the situation is getting so bad that the city risks a public health crisis. Local and national media have put the issue on their front pages, with the local Il Messaggero describing it in a headline yesterday as a "Rubbish emergency in Rome: Risk of collapse in 10 days."

The Italian capital has a chronic shortage of refuse-processing centers, but the crisis became more acute Monday with the resignation en masse of the board of the municipal rubbish agency AMA. "We need to stop [the city] from quickly filling with heaps of rubbish in every street, near schools, hospitals, public spaces," the Rome doctors' association said in a Wednesday statement. "There is no time to lose," they added.

In a separate statement, the association of school principals said garbage was piling up near school facilities across the city, with the situation "getting worse day by day." Barring an improvement, principals called on local health authorities to inspect each of the affected schools "and eventually proceed with a request to close them."

Rome is currently sending its surplus garbage to processing plants in its surrounding region of Lazio and other parts of Italy, but this is costly and unsustainable. AMA's management has changed six times in the last three years. Its last board quit over a long-standing disagreement with Mayor Virginia Raggi over the approval of 2017 accounts.

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