Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Italy: History, Food, Culture, and Toxic Waste?

The news from Italy today is by no means good. The associated press has reported that a shipwreck has been discovered off the coast of Calabria containing 180 barrels of toxic waste. The waste is believed to be tied to the Calabria Mafia , known as the 'Ndrangheta. According to the AP article, former mobster Francesco Fonti has told authorities that the 'ndrangheta has made millions of euro by sinking ships of radioactive waste on behalf of Northern Italian companies since the laws surrounding waste disposal became increasingly stringent and costly to comply with.

While this toxic discovery is truly bad news, it suggests that there is probably even worse news. Where there is one, there are probably many. Who knows how many ships full of radioactive material have been sunk in Italy without ever being detected? Since searching for them is extremely costly and difficult, we may never know. In the mean time, the radioactive waste will seep out into the water, make its way into the food supply of the ocean life and subsequently our own. Cancer, birth defects, and a whole slew of known and unknown dangers could result. In other words, our children (and most likely we too) are screwed.

image © Copyright Chris Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence


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