Ecomafia, illegal waste treatment is decreasing

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Legambiente report: first feedback one year after the introduction of the law against ecocrimes.

The business of ecomafia is not doing well, partially because of the crisis and partially (hopefully) thanks to the new law against ecocrimes. The number of ecocrimes reported in 2015 was smaller than in the past: the total is 27,745, over 76 ecocrimes per day, more than 3 per hour. The number of arrested people increased to 188, while the number of charges decreased to 24,623 and sequestrations decreased to 7,055. Moreover, 18 thousand buildings have been built illegally last year. The ecocrimes exposed in the cement and waste management chains have decreased. These are the findings of the latest Ecomafia Report by Legambiente presented at the Senate last week.

The total gain of ecomafias in 2015 amounted to €19.1 billion, almost three billion Euro less than in 2014 (€22 billion). This decrease is mainly due to the significant decrease of risky investments in the four regions with the highest presence of organized crime. In 2015 the public expense for public works and urban waste management in these reasons has dropped below €7 billion (against €13 billion the previous year).

This report also gives the first feedback on the law against ecocrimes: in the first eight months since the entry into force of the law, 947 ecocrimes have been ascertained with 1,185 reports to the police and coast guard and the sequestration of 229 properties for a total amount of €24 million. The cases of pollution reported were 118 while the reports concerning the newly introduced charge of environmental disaster were 30.

In spite of the overall decrease of ecocrimes in 2015, illegal waste treatment has increased in the four regions which traditionally have the highest presence of organized crime (Calabria, Campania, Puglia and Sicily). In these regions, 13,388 ecocrimes were reported, i.e. 48.3% of the national total (in 2014 it was 44.6%). The region with the highest number of environmental crimes is Campania with 4,277 cases, more than 15% of the total national number. Campania is followed by Sicily (4,001), Calabria (2,673), Puglia (2,437) and Lazio (2,431). For what concerns provinces, the two most affected ones are in Campania: Naples (1,579) and Salerno (1,303). The two cities are followed by Rome (1,161), Catania (1,027) and Sassari (861).

Concerning the organized activities of illegal waste trafficking, as defined by Art. 260 of the legislative decree 152/2006, up to May 31st 2016 the inquiries were 314. As a result, 1,602 people were arrested, 7,437 charges were pressed. The inquiry also discovered the involvement of 871 companies in all Italian regions and even 35 foreign countries (14 in Europe, 7 in Asia, 12 in Africa and one in Latin America), for a total of over 47.5 million tons of waste sequestrated by the police. In the last 12 inquiries alone (January 2015 – May 2016) the amount of waste sequestrated was 3.5 million tons, about the equivalent of 141 thousand trucks.

An interesting reading on this topic is “ECOMAFIA 2016, Le storie e i numeri della criminalità ambientale in Italia”, published by Edizioni Ambiente with the support of Cobat, available in commerce in the row “Saggistica”. Format: 15×23, 192 pages, €22.00.

The stories and figures of environmental crime region by region, the latest news on this issue and numerous studies are available online at www.noecomafia.it.

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