Toxic: Napoli

In the city of Naples, Italy, the Mafia has controlled the waste-management industry for decades – dumping and burning trash across its rolling hills and vineyards. In 1994, the European Union declared the situation an official environmental emergency, and things have only gotten worse since then.

When VICE investigated the situation they found mutated sheep, poisoned mozzarella, alarming rates of cancer, and pissed off farmers ready to push back against the Camorra, Italy’s most powerful and dangerous criminal organization (and the government that enables it).

At the beginning of 2008, world news outlets were flooded with images of garbage piles in the streets of Naples. The newly reelected premier, Silvio Berlusconi, made countless TV appearances, personally picking up trash and promising to resolve the situation.

Naples and the entire Campania region had been officially declared an environmental crisis over 14 years ago. The garbage piles were just a current distraction from the real emergency. Almost 8 million tons of rubbish stockpiled throughout the region, illegal toxic waste dumps, a serious human health crisis, and behind it all, the largest criminal organization in Italy, the Neapolitan Camorra.

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  1. The newly elected Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi took immediate action, and held his first cabinet meeting in Naples.[4] He then appointed a new waste commissioner, Guido Bertolaso (then the head of the Civil Protection Department). Bertolaso faced similar protests from the residents of Naples, but during June and July 2008 he dealt with the problem. He opened new landfill sites and an incinerator. In addition he sent 700 tons of rubbish a day to incinerators in Hamburg, Germany, while new incinerators should be built locally.[5] By the end of July, Berlusconi declared that the emergency was closed.[6] By September the rubbish had gone from the streets of Naples.

  2. I didn’t really enjoy this documentary, which is surprising because usually Vice’s documentaries are of a very high standard. It’s very poorly narrated and comes across as quite defuse. Although the topic is very interesting the documentary maker has made no effort to explain or create a clear narrative. Essentially it’s just a collection of interviews repeating the same story from different viewpoints and you’re left to thread together what little information you’re given. Lazy film making

    • maybe you would enjoy eating contaminated food more? is it about your enjoyment or exposure?

    • Vice hasn’t been the same since Shane took a back seat and hired all these un-educated boys who could seemingly care less about where they are, or what they are to be reporting. Is quite a shame.

      • Johnny Knoxville in Detroit doc was crap too. I think this was a case of, “lets find a dude who speaks Italian and get him to work for us in this doc”. Honestly, I feel bad for Italy, I was not aware of their environmental crisis.

  3. a must see.
    quite a shocker.