The ongoing trash problem in Naples, Italy, has become so bad that the Italian army has been called in to bulldoze piles of rubbish that were blocking entry to city schools. Garbage collection stopped more than two weeks ago, for the simple reason that all of the area dumps are full to overflowing. The city of 2 million creates some 8,000 metric tons of trash every day; an estimated 100,000 tons of garbage has accumulated in the streets, and some has been lit on fire, releasing noxious fumes. Many blame the severity of the situation on the mafia, which has tight control of the trash business, profits from illegal transport and dumping of waste, and is accused of sabotaging plans for a new incinerator. Officials’ attempts to solve the problem by reopening a landfill long closed for health concerns have been met by violent protests; government officials have been hung in effigy from lampposts, wearing placards that say “Good riddance to this rubbish.”

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.