Holy garbage Naples!

This is one of those stories that has caught me off guard to the degree that I wonder why newspaper editors even wake up in the morning. This story is so profoundly indicative of what is to come, that I cannot understand the lack of attention being given to it!

Naples. Yes, the one in Italy associated with beauty and culture. Well, they have not had their garbage collected SINCE DECEMBER of 2007!!!!!!

Think right now for a second about how bad your streets/lawn would look if the entire city’s garbage wasn’t picked up for 6 months. Holy Jesus! What kind of strike would lead to this kind of unsolved dispute? There was no strike. The city simply ran out of room in the landfills. There are no legal dumps open at all in all of Naples! They have filled the dumps!

Again, this is one of those issues we sweep under the rug (the topsoil) in our daily lives. We just put these bags of refuse out to the curb and they magically disappear in the morning on “garbage day”. There is really no responsibility for people who abuse the system and refuse to recycle, or who just consume at such an incredible rate, that they leave 10 bags of garbage to be picked up per week. I often see houses on garbage eve, with up to 15 bags of garbage waiting to be heaved into a hole in the earth at the outskirts of town. I almost always end up shaking my head, lost for expression.

You see, I bust my hump to recycle and limit my trash output, and when I see a repeat-offending trash hoarder unloading a lifetime of garbage EVERY WEEK, I get a little miffed.

And I wonder, in Naples, if these people are starting to USE LESS! If you look a the pictures in the stories attached, you can see the plethora of stink left rotting in parking lots, streets, and yards. How has this not sparked HUGE health issues in the area? How has this story been untold to the masses as a warning of what can happen when you haphazardly toss away belongings like nothing matters at the end of this process?

I have always wondered how my neighbours (over the years) cannot realize how profound the imbalance is between the output of trash from themselves and the people living next to them. All I can say, really, is that if I put 6 bags of garbage out every week, and my neighbour put out 4 bags per month, and some weeks putting out nothing at all, I know I would wonder how the hell they do it. Lugging filth the curb is work. It’s almost too much work for our society’s most active, to haul out bags of garbage. But what this kind of trash output tells me is that the lack of awareness of the impact of trash on our city, environment, watershed, etc. makes it insatiable to citizens. There is no end in sight for the long line of garbage when no one is held accountable for the amount they waste.

I heard a conversation at the bar recently, where the discussion weaved into the possibility of paying for trash output. Citizens pay for the amount of bags (over the allotted amount) they require relief of, and if they stay under the limit, they pay nothing extra. Taxes take care of the minimum allotted amount. I love this idea. The only people who don’t like it seem to be those who are unable to put a little thought into the products they buy, maybe reducing output by buying things with less packaging.

If these kinds of garbage crises are going to “surface” in other cities, you can bet your bottom that people are going to pay.

I just wanted to share this with all of you, and maybe spark the question about how much we throw away. How much waste are you making? Do you rely on the magic of disappearing curb garbage fairies every week a little too much? Could you be easing the strain on your landfill?


4 responses to “Holy garbage Naples!

  1. I was in Naples just recently, and it’s pretty disgusting. There’s trash everywhere, and inaction to correct the situation is taking away from the natural beauty of the place. I found it really sad, and, as you mentioned, suggestive of the fates of other countries in the future.

  2. Wow – I hadn’t heard about this one. It’s *crazy* how much gets thrown away but equally crazy how much packaging people put on the average product – often just for theft protection. Look at how much pastic is wrapped around a simple compact flash card for your camera! Really the cost for disposing of the packaging of the product and the disposal of the product itself needs to be built *into* the cost of the product.

    Toronoto has just changed to a progressive program for waste disposal with those putting out the least trash actually getting a refund. (http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/301628). Of course for those of us in highrises it is far too easy – we have a recycle room downstairs, sure, but I have a feeling that most people just toss it all into the chute at the end of the hall and forget it.

    Have you, by any chance, come upon the book ” Cradle to Cradle”? If you haven’t, track it down. It’s a fabulous read.

  3. Thanks for spotlighting this major problem. My hubby is a garbage collector for the city and they’ve been wanting to implement a 2 bag system, but nobody has implemented it yet. City is worried that people will just throw their trash elsewhere in the middle of the night. It is so desperately important that we REDUCE the amount of garbage we are generating. Our family strives to reduce our output and limit our footprint. Great blog post!

  4. Toronto DOES have a great system! Put it all in trucks and SHIP IT TO MICHIGAN THROUGH WINDSOR!

    Great job, Big Smoke.

    I talked to a few people from Holland last year. They don’t recycle. “HUH??” No, their waste recovery system is such that everything goes into the garbage, and they process it all together. They recover something like 90% of recyclable materials.

    I dare anyone to open one of those ‘garbage’ bags in Naples – or Windsor OR TORONTO and tell me how much is actually GARBAGE, and not compostable or recyclable.



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