Washington International Law Journal


The illegal dumping and burning of waste and toxic waste in southern Italy has caused such immense environmental damage that the disaster is now known as “Italy’s Chernobyl”. In early 2014, the Italian Senate passed the Land of Fires Decree, a sweeping new law aimed at solving a problem that Italy has historically failed to adequately address. Despite the broad grants of power and the new crime created, the lack of political will renders these new tools useless and means little will likely change. Italy can no longer put this fire out by itself. As such, Italy should look to its European neighbors and the EU for help with enforcement. A regional approach enables external accountability and prevents the bad actors from simply shifting the illegal waste disposal activity to a less regulated area like the Balkans.

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