The hygiene and environmental concern of southern Italy has long known to be pretty much in the gutter. A pretty messy one. Truth be told, down there, people throw garbage just about everywhere. The problem of garbage dumps and the recent failure to clean the streets regularly is just the tip of the iceberg. Sure, now you can point to a 300-meter shoulder-high pile of bagged garbage waiting for the garbage trucks that aren’t coming and say: “Well, we have a garbage problem.” But the truth is that even without those piles of trash the southern Italy’s cities and streets are always filled with litter. Their idea of “clean” is quite strange. I couldn’t help to think: “When in Rome, do as Romans do,” and then reasonably dismiss the idea of throwing a piece of paper on the pavement or grass, like they do. Sorry, I’m used to keeping my city clean. But down there, it’s normal. An example: three large garbage containers on a street. All empty, but around them, well, it’s like someone simply turned them over. What twisted belief makes you throw garbage next to an empty container?
Anyway, I’ve seen “clean” streets of Naples as littered as some of the smaller illegal garbage dumps. Plastic, papers everywhere… The dark asfalt dotted with white. And as for those piles is concerned. It makes you sick. All the organic waste rotting away… Wouldn’t be surprised if I saw a dead body in there. After all, the waste disposal is controlled by the local mafia, so they say.
Imagine standing on a piece of street without a crap-less piece of pavement to stand on. Yap. What’s up with all the dogs in Naples? Seriously. You live in a city where there’s hardly any lawns except for a rare park. Where you don’t see grass in the city at all (suburbs excluded)! Even the orange trees all over the city are cemented all around. It’s just asfalt everywhere. But you have not one but two dogs?!!? And probably some huge ones! Craps in the street and when all the careless people step in it, it’s enough to go around!!! Pieces of it travel blocks! But at least those crap once, the little ones seem to do it in installments! It’s like fertilizing! And why? Well, because nobody cares to pick it up! Maybe that’s even better, because it gives some peace of mind when a guy serves me a slice of pizza on the street. Sorry, I didn’t see their personal hygiene, but if the public one is like this, well ….
I wrote this a bit hyped up, because exaggeration always tends to point to a problem more strongly. Not everybody’s like that and not everywhere in Naples. But the truth is that Naples is being cleaned up of that piles of trash, because if they don’t clean it up in a month (I think that deadline is over), the EU will slap them with sanctions. So they started exporting the garbage. Rumors have it, they’re taking some of the trash into neighbouring cities, where the same problem is growing or at least standing still. Well, been there and yes, it’s true. No progress there, although I can’t say if they’re really bringing in the Naples’ trash.
It took twelve hours to get there on a low budget. By train, which is what I like anyway, because it’s sort of nostalgic. Three photographers. One professional camera, two Nikons. 😉 And the shit we’ve seen. 🙂 Literally…
Here’s some b&w from the long road there. Btw: on the first one, I’m reading a Newsweek feature about the garbage problem in Italy. Published the same week we paid a visit to them. So, here’s a little behind the scenes. The feature will soon be up on www.dax-photo.com