Mafia’s Connection to the Triangle of Death

by Marissa Fimiani on February 19, 2014

Italy Poisoned Land

The region just above Naples, Italy has recently been referred to as the “Triangle of Death” due to an overwhelming number of cancer cases in residents of the area. The source of the exposure was determined to be from the toxic waste disposal by the Camorra mafia, which has been buried illegally since the early 1990’s. The Camorra has disposed of an estimated 10 million tons of both toxic and industrial waste at the site in order to avoid the costs of legally disposing of so much hazardous waste, earning the mafia billions of dollars. Much of the disposable waste was coming from Italy’s industrial north. The factories and companies often turned to the Camorra for cheaper waste disposal, and did not follow up on the waste’s cycle because as long as it was out of their hands, it was no longer their problem. In addition, the Camorra’s power and intimidation factor often lead dump operators to turn a blind eye to the illegal transactions.

The land has become a “ticking time bomb” for southern Italians. The toxic waste is leeching into the water and soil of the land, resulting in clusters of documented liver, kidney, and pancreatic cancers among others. Tumors have been more frequently reported—up to 50% more cases. There has been a documented 47% increase in male cancer cases and 40% increase in female cancer cases. Water has been deemed unsuitable and farmers in the area cannot avoid the pollution. Chloroform, arsenic, and heavy metal traces have been poisoning the crops. The waste site was described as an environmental disaster and an almost a hopeless cause. The Italian government is uncertain what to do because they are dealing with the mafia. Rumors suggest that the Italian army may be called upon to deal with the mafia dumpsters, because the situation has been determined as a public health emergency based on the increased rates of cancer, allergies, and birth defects of citizens in the area. The area around Naples has also been nicknamed the “Land of Fires” due to the amount of its toxicity.

Investigators are still testing the land and analyzing the best ways to properly dispose of the waste, but cleaning up this mess will be no easy task. The soil samples (which contained cancer-causing substances) have been studied for the past two years. For unknowing residents, much of the damage has already been done. Not only will the farming industry undergo a lot of stress, the health care system as well as the waste disposal management will have to pick up the pieces. The Mediterranean diet, which consists of a lot of vegetables that these farmers have been feeding their families, will not drastically change, either. People are continuing to eat the way they have always eaten, so it is simply a matter of time before the substances in these foods accumulates into problems.

The information was discovered when two former mobsters were turned over and gave information to the Italian authorities. The government has threatened to punish one of the discovered bosses involved with a 20 year prison sentence, but that will definitely not solve the problem at hand. The public’s health is at risk, and it seems like a drastic outside intervention will be the only way to help. The gridlock between the government and the mafia is a whole issue in itself, and the population of Naples does not have time for them to sort it out after the past 20 years of contamination.

The issue of toxic waste disposal is not only a problem for Italy. In many underdeveloped countries, populations are exposed to harmful radiation and pollution. Stricter guidelines for waste removal as well as more economic ways to dispose would be ideal, but realistically each area would need thorough examination to determine the best way for a minimally harmful waste management system to be effective.

 

By Marissa Fimiani

 

Works Cited:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/30/world/europe/beneath-southern-italy-a-deadly-mob-legacy.html?_r=0

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25743477

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/21/italian-mafia-toxic-waste_n_4486504.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/mafia-dumping-toxic-waste-blamed-high-cancer-rates-article-1.1505218

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/triangle-of-death-surge-in-cancer-cases-in-italy-linked-to-illegal-dumping-of-toxic-waste-6291302.html


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Sauvegarde automatique April 28, 2014 at 10:39 am

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