Ecocide in the Mediterranean. The known consequences so far.


Carmine Schiavone’s secrets are now public knowledge. They  join the testimony of Francesco Fonti at the Mafia’s maxi-processo in Palermo. The mozzarella scandal of 2008 pales into insignificance.

Organised crime has a solid grip on toxic and nuclear waste disposal in the Italian peninsula. They dumped it in  areas where buffalos grazed. They dumped in areas around Naples, in particular around Casale di Principe or in the Mediterranean Sea. Francesco Fonti had mentioned 42 ships laden with toxic and nuclear waste which were sunk in different areas of the Mediterranean. The location of one them, the Cunsky (vide illustration above) had been identified just off the coast of Calabria loaded with 120 barrels of toxic waste.

The latest revelations involve the dumping of nuclear and toxic waste originating from Germany and Northern Italy  in areas where they contaminated ground water.

Legambiente, the Italian environment NGO is not surprised with the information revealed in Schiavone’s testimony. Over the years it has documented countless cases which it classifies under the title Ecomafia: it has published annual reports on the matter since the year 2000.

I will not bother you with more details. Just one tiny bit: one particular health centre in the Naples area has identified that the number of cancer cases it deals with has skyrocketed from 136 in 2008 to 420 in 2012.

The New York Times on Sunday reported : Mafia’s dumping of toxic waste blamed for high cancer rates in Italy.  “Cancer rates have increased 47% for men and 40% for women in the areas around Naples and Pompeii thanks to illegal disposal by Mafia-controlled companies that occurred during a 20-year period, in which the harmful substances were dumped into lakes, farmland, quarries and caves.”

In Malta the above has not triggered any particular interest yet.

3 comments on “Ecocide in the Mediterranean. The known consequences so far.

  1. I have just recollected an “incident” some 3 or 4 years ago when I found out that our local (travelling) greengrocer was selling potatoes coming from Acerra in Campania, at the heart of the toxic waste dumping scandal. At the time Acerra had a malfunctioning incinerator. Sheep and shepherds in the vicinity were afflicted by unidentified degenerative illnesses. A University colleague contacted the then MEP Simon Busuttil. But I never heard of any result. That apart, we are still importing vegetables with unspecified origin; just the local packer. My wife says there are potatoes on the market currently of this “type”.

  2. In a private message I have been asked as to implications for Malta of the above.

    In my opinion the implications are the following :
    1. 60% of our water is purified sea water; hence what goes into the sea is of primary importance for us;
    2. fish is an important part of our diet; fish do not respect boundaries; marine pollution is known to be absorbed by fish and passed on through the foodchain;
    3. health and safety of fishermen in polluted waters is of concern;
    4. the polluted ground water, and polluted fields in the Naples area are also of concern due to their impact on Malta’s foodchain. We import various foodstuffs from Italy.

    Is that enough ?

  3. Very sad news Carmel.I like to read your articles.They are always of special interest.We used to meet in conferences.But I am no longer a Councellor.I was not elected,unfortunately.People who did nothing were elected.

    Kind Regards,

    George Farrugia/Ex Councillor Marsaskala.

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