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Disregard for Human Life in Tuscany

How low can you go?  How about ‘adjusting’ the toxic emissions of an incinerator plant?  No, surely this could not happen.

Well, it did down near Pietrasanta not far from picturesque Lucca in Italy.

The fiddle came from the very top and has probably led to increased levels of cancer and other health related anomalies in the area.

Defective Incinerator Plant Sold to French Company

Down in Pietrasanta near Lucca in Tuscany, there is a waste incinerator plant.

Lucca, Tuscany
Lucca, Tuscany

Formerly owned by the Italian company Termomeccanica, this plant was recently acquired from its Italian owner by the French company Veolia.  Shortly after taking control of the plant, the new French owners were not all that happy to discover that the incinerator plant’s emission levels had been fiddled with to bring them within legal limits.

The police were called in and their investigations resulted in the suspension of the incinerator plant manager.  Additionally, a hard disk containing software apparently written specifically to modify the reporting of emission levels was confiscated.

Worrying Levels of Cancer and Early Puberty

What is known is that between the period 23rd June and 15th July 2008 emissions of carbon monoxide and dioxins were four times higher than legal limits.  However it is highly likely that locals have been breathing poisoned air for many years.  Unsurprisingly local residents have been nervously uttering ‘we’re all going to die’.  Indeed, in the area around the plant, levels of cancer and respiratory illness are significantly higher than in other parts of Italy.

Even more worrying was the fact that in the Viareggio and Pietrasanta areas, young girls were reaching puberty early, even if they still had the stature and appearance of other girls of a similar age.

Oh, and the French company is not at all happy, seeing as its shiny new plant has been locked down while work is carried out to bring the unit back up to safety levels.  The work is costing a fortune too.

If you can read Italian, then you can see more details in this article:

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One hopes, but doubts, that the Italian government has taken steps to ensure that all Italian incinerator plants are now being independently monitored to ensure emission levels are safe.  After all this would be the responsible thing to do, would it not?

And Italy Wants to be Trusted with the Management of Nuclear Plants?

Sad though the story above may be, it is all true, and is yet another example of how some Italians lack consideration for others.  One wonders how many tourists have left the Lucca area only to find upon returning home that they do not feel too good, or that their daughters have grown up rather quickly.

Similarly inconsiderate Italians could end up in charge of nuclear plants.  A horrific thought.  Just imagine if someone fiddles an Italian nuclear plant’s books to cover up having sold a few kilos of weapons grade uranium to a group of international terrorists.  A wild thought?

You may like to read this post on Italy’s plans to up its nuclear power generation capacity: Berlusconi’s Nuclear Power Trip

And if certain Italians are capable of such ruthless disregard for human life as has occurred in Pietrasanta then fiddling the limited traffic zone cameras down in Pisa, for example, would probably be mere child’s play.

The question is: Was the guy who ran the incinerator plant one of Italy’s many ‘Raccomandati‘?

I would hate to put people off coming to Italy, but then I would hate to encourage them to come to a place which is potentially dangerous.


With thanks to a friend for putting me onto this story.

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