The “Parco delle Vele” in Porto San Rocco: an illegal landfill, but “not really”. This is one of the many polluted areas in the Municipality of Muggia. But the first one to be recognized as such by the European Court of Justice.
If there is a Municipality that represents perfectly the dramatic situation of environmental pollution in the Free Territory of Trieste, it certainly is Muggia. This is the most southern city of the present-day Free Territory of Trieste, near the border with Slovenia. Thirteen square kilometers and 13,000 inhabitants, but 20% of the surface is polluted. This is it, in mere numbers. The fifth part of the territory is now made of dumping sites. And what dumping sites… we are talking about hazardous waste, the kind that contaminates the environment, often irremediably, and leave nothing but scorched earth, poisoning also the locals.
Muggia has paid a very high price due to its very geographic position. Because until 1991 it bordered with the secondary zone of the Free Territory, then entrusted to the administration of the Yugoslav Government. And as part of the silent war between Italy and Yugoslavia, pollution was a weapon to be used without second thoughts. Using what now is the present-day Free Territory of Trieste, administered by the Italian Government to this day, as a dumping site of State as a strategic defense and as bridgehead for Italian nationalist revanchist (which has never actually ended) at the expenses of the lands “lost” at the end of WWII: in practical terms, an attempt to cause as much damages as possible to the hated Slav enemy by polluting a neutral ground, a bordering State.
This planned environmental devastation could only take place because of the absolute cooperation of local administrations; administrations that were nearly always under the strict control of the central power: a democracy that is a mere front, but in facts grants a regime that looks more like a colonialist occupation.
It is for this reason that it won’t be easy finding illegal landfills in the Free Territory of Trieste: it all happened following the rituals of simulate lawfulness. Every single public servant had to do nothing but obey orders and ask no questions. If you are looking for illegal landfills of hazardous waste there is plenty in Italy, but it is only here, in Trieste, that Italy mastered an incorruptible system that kept working to our days turning those landfills in legit public works. And to build on top of them.
The art to make pollution disappear by hiding it is still a trait of the public bodies that administer the present-day Free Territory of Trieste, and Muggia provides some significant examples. Here, decades of city planning loyal to the Italian system for the disposal of waste have produced some of the most significant constructions of our State (unfortunately).
The Municipality of Muggia, for small that it is, can be divided in for big polluted areas. One if the former refinery Aquila, on the coast and bordering with the Municipality of Trieste, then we have the hills of Montedoro, in their bowels are hidden former military depots of fuel, follows the Nowhere Valley, which includes the stream Ospo and its mouth, and then the coastal strip from here to Porto San Rocco and then the border with Slovenia.
But how can a polluted site be future into a clean and healthy soil? Easy, just build there. Long story short, this is the creative solution used in Muggia to avoid the problem of environmental remediation. And once something was built on the polluted site, to prevent any form of rehabilitation. This well-tested system continues since years, and its maximum example is the construction of the Industrial Zone, which in Muggia was built exactly on top of the landfill of the Nowhere Valley (on average, 5 meters of soil were added to embank it, even with uncontrolled waste, burying part of stream Ospo). Dozens of enterprises did then settle in one of the mot polluted sites in Europe. Including food factories.
What is built cannot be destroyed. This is the logic of this system. In facts, the buildings play a key role in protecting whatever is buried and must not be found again. And, if this is not enough, there are also bureaucratic covers, which are granted no matter what to conceal what is nothing but dangerous zones that should not even be accessible as “non-residential green areas”.
Until we get to the certifications of environmental remediation completed… without removing the waste. That’s impossible, you’d say: how do they do it? Once again, the Italian Machiavellian mind, plus creative jurisprudence cannot but astonish you.
The case of Porto San Rocco is an enlightening and paradoxical example of this system. The construction of a marina in Porto San Rocco served as an excuse to mask an extended, illegal system for the disposal of waste, which culminate in many landfills. One of these was reused within the marina, hiding 18,000 cubic meters of hazardous waste (sludge) by putting them into a plastic-material membrane, and then burying it all under an artificial hill which became a park and a playground for children; all of this just next to the new touristic house. The polyethylene membrane in which was concealed the waste had a 10 years warranty, which expired in 2009.
After denouncing to public opinion this scandal, the Prosecution Office of the Republic in Trieste took action, requesting and obtaining the commitment for trial not for the polluters, but for the people who had denounced the existence of this landfill, now charged with defamation against the Porto San Rocco Company. But denouncing the landfill meant nothing more than saying the truth: in Porto San Rocco there was a landfill disguised as a park. We received a clear message: the system could not stand such actions by the citizens and nobody should get too close to the burning issue of an environmental disaster that shall remain concealed: just like the dumping site in Porto San Rocco.
However, at the same time, the European Commission received the complaints and they were admitted, leading to a reaction: Porto San Rocco was no less than an illegal landfill. After a judgment against Italy, issued by the European court of Justice, not only there was a sanction, but also an order to remediate the site, all expenses were to be covered by Italian authorities, and by the Municipality of Muggia. But this is where activates a second defensive level. How to persuade the European Commission that the illegal landfill was finally remediated? With a test certificate of the Province of Trieste, which certified the “ensured safety” meaning the landfill had been monitored by public bodies and no pollutants had leaked in the environment.
Regardless to the fact that “safe” does not equal to “remediated” it results that, thanks to this trick, the landfill of Porto San Rocco was removed from the list by the EU at the end of 2015. So far, the Municipality must pay a sanction of EUR 400,000 (corresponding to the time prior to the recognition of the environmental remediation by European authorities), unless the European Commission changes its mind (it is not easy making other States accept the “benevolent” acquittals of Italy).
But the events of Porto San Rocco are part of a much bigger action, and this has to do with the environmental disaster caused by the Italian State by the mean of each of its “epiphanies” (an abstruse wording, which means “body, institutional representative”, used by an Italian magistrate to charge with subversion the citizens of Trieste who do not accept the simulation of Italian sovereignty over the FTT) at the expenses of the Free Territory of Trieste itself. And this means, even this case of pollution must be judged once again, with laws superior to those of the European Union: to make it clear, it does not end here.
It is worth considering once again that the destructive system of disposal of waste that is used in Trieste since decades if possible only thanks to the unique state of provisional administration that turned this into a lawless land: a paradise for the Italian mafias that work together with the Italian authorities. Investigations the pollution of the Free Territory of Trieste it is important keeping in mind that nobody is innocent, there are only criminals with different degrees of responsibilitiy.