Rubbish piles up in Rome as holidays and rain disrupt collects

Pictures of overflowing bins and pockets spilling out their contents shared online as Five Star Movement fails to tackle waste

Mounds of uncollected rubbish have been piling up in Rome since Christmas eve, with some occupants placing them on fire in protest against a municipal administration that has failed to deliver on its promise to tackle the city’s waste.

Scenes of overflowing bins and luggage shedding out their contents ought to have shared on social media as collections by the public services conglomerate, Ama, were disrupted by vacations and heavy downpours.

” The place right now is chronic ,” said Massimiliano Tonelli, the founder of Roma Fa Schifo( Rome is Outraging ).” During the said period, Ama never manages to organise collects well but things have got worse over the last couple of years .”

Rome has been managed by the Five Star Movement, which is leading in opinion polls ahead of general elections on 4 March, since Virginia Raggi was elected mayor in June 2016. Solving the rubbish crisis was one of her campaign pledges, but an ambitious strategy launched in April has so far attested futile.

Neighbourhoods beyond the urban centres, that typically better conserved due to the number of visitors it captivates, have been the worst affected in recent days.

” The rubbish pile-up here get bad during vacations and when Ama goes on impres ,” said Shelly Ruelle, an American who lives in EUR, an neighbourhood south of the centre.

Rome mayor Virginia Raggi( centre) at the blessing of the city hall Christmas crib. Photo: Fotia/ AGF/ Rex/ Shutterstock

” It’s not any worse this year. The diminish has been going on for at the least the past four or five years. The question is endemic to Rome bureaucracy and there are major mismanagement issues within the individual entities[ that succeed community service ].”

Meanwhile in Ostia, a shore suburb, inhabitants have been setting bins alight. Four occurrences were reported on Boxing Day.

Despite reports of some areas being cleaned up on Friday morning, the situation is expected to continue through the New Year holiday period.

About 70,000 tons per year of the city’s household rubbish is sent to a waste-to-energy plant in Austria. Tuscany too shares some of additional burdens, while a potential deal with the Emilia-Romagna region is in jeopardy due to fraught the relationship with Rome’s administration.

” Even if collections were super-efficient, there is nowhere to take the rubbish ,” said Tonelli.

Still, Rome’s questions are unlikely to dent the notoriety of the Five Star Movement before general elections.” They realise no impact on the referendums ,” said Tonelli.” But one thing is certain- this new political class is worse than the previous one .”

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