Support our mission
Petty Officer 2nd Class Herbert Matcke tosses his empty drink plastic bottle into one of many new recycling receptacles put up in recent weeks at the U.S. Navy’s Capodichino base in Naples, Italy. With the Italian city in the midst of yet another trash crisis, the U.S. Navy is beefing up efforts to make it easier for personnel to recycle – and mitigate contributing to the tons trash that has piled up on Neapolitan streets since mid-December.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Herbert Matcke tosses his empty drink plastic bottle into one of many new recycling receptacles put up in recent weeks at the U.S. Navy’s Capodichino base in Naples, Italy. With the Italian city in the midst of yet another trash crisis, the U.S. Navy is beefing up efforts to make it easier for personnel to recycle – and mitigate contributing to the tons trash that has piled up on Neapolitan streets since mid-December. (Sandra Jontz/ S&S)

Petty Officer 2nd Class Herbert Matcke tosses his empty drink plastic bottle into one of many new recycling receptacles put up in recent weeks at the U.S. Navy’s Capodichino base in Naples, Italy. With the Italian city in the midst of yet another trash crisis, the U.S. Navy is beefing up efforts to make it easier for personnel to recycle – and mitigate contributing to the tons trash that has piled up on Neapolitan streets since mid-December.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Herbert Matcke tosses his empty drink plastic bottle into one of many new recycling receptacles put up in recent weeks at the U.S. Navy’s Capodichino base in Naples, Italy. With the Italian city in the midst of yet another trash crisis, the U.S. Navy is beefing up efforts to make it easier for personnel to recycle – and mitigate contributing to the tons trash that has piled up on Neapolitan streets since mid-December. (Sandra Jontz/ S&S)

A main road through the town of Marano, a suburb of Naples, that leads to quarries Italian officials have tapped as a dumpsite, as of last week remained barricaded with trash set up by angry residents protesting the site selection -- in spite of warnings that residents who impede efforts of trash haulers would face stiff penalties, to include jail time.

A main road through the town of Marano, a suburb of Naples, that leads to quarries Italian officials have tapped as a dumpsite, as of last week remained barricaded with trash set up by angry residents protesting the site selection -- in spite of warnings that residents who impede efforts of trash haulers would face stiff penalties, to include jail time. (Sandra Jontz/ S&S)

NAPLES, Italy — Italy’s prime minister pledged that the streets of Naples will be garbage-free by the end of July.

Silvio Berlusconi, who visited the southern Italian city Tuesday, announced the government is "very close" to signing deals with private companies to cart off the rotting, stinking garbage — made worse lately as the city suffers through a heat spell.

"We are heading toward an end to the problem," Berlusconi was quoted as saying during a press conference. "By the end of July, there will not be any more rubbish on Campania’s streets."

Italian trash haulers stopped collecting garbage more than six months ago, saying local dump sites had no more room. Since then, refuse has been collected periodically as government officials reopened dumps in the Campania region or had it hauled off to Germany, Sicily and Sardinia.

Roughly 18,000 tons of rubbish still lines the region’s streets, but that’s 2,000 tons less than last week, according to the Italian ANSA news service, citing current estimates.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Herbert Matcke holds out hope, but he’s not holding his breath. "I’d love to see it happen, this is a beautiful place, but I just don’t see it happening," said the 27-year-old electronics technician with Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station, Naples. "There’s just too much of it."

The U.S. Navy continues to help personnel mitigate the garbage problem and has boosted recycling efforts, said spokesman Lt. Paul Macapagal. For example, offices on the Capodichino base received recycling bins in February for people to separate plastic, paper and aluminum. A few weeks ago, new recycling receptacles were installed throughout the base to make recycling more convenient.

At the support site base in Gricignano — which has the housing units, hospital, schools, a hotel and exchange and commissary — the amount of recyclable material separated from garbage increased from 19.8 percent in April to 29.5 percent in May, said Cmdr. Michael Teates, the base’s public works officer. The percentage point boost is a combination of improved data collection, the base’s efforts to encourage residents to recycle, and putting up receptacles to help them in the process, he said.

Navy officials also are considering long-term options, like possibly building a recycling separation and collection point on the base, Macapagal said.

Since taking office in May, Berlusconi declared the city’s trash problems an emergency and announced dumpsites would be "military zones," guarded by Italian soldiers. He also warned residents of stiff penalties, to include jail time, for anyone who bars trucks from unloading garbage.

But as recently as last week, authorities still had failed to clear a main road in the town of Marano, barricaded since early June by residents protesting the government’s selection of nearby quarries as dumpsites.


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up