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Mafia 'Cashing in on waste'


The Mafia controls about 30 percent of Italy's waste disposal companies, including toxic waste, according to a parliamentary study.

The report on illegal waste trafficking said the so-called "ecomafia" ran companies dealing with about 35 million tons of refuse a year, making at least 15 trillion lire ($6.66 billion).

Some toxic waste ends up dumped in caves or waterways, or buried under farmland, said the report. The commission, examining links between organised crime and rubbish, said Mafia groups were infiltrating the entire chain of waste disposal.

Commission head Massimo Scalia said the Mafia, seeking new business interests beyond their traditional southern strongholds, had moved into areas of Italy that had been considered free from the grip of organised crime.

The report said both local governments and companies unwittingly used Mafia-controlled firms to get rid of waste, especially industrial and toxic waste.

"The defining factor is the search for the cheapest way to get rid of rubbish, with no control over its final destination," added Tuesday's report.

The report, issued on Tuesday, also showed the illegal rubbish route winding its way overseas.

Radioactive waste from Italy dumped in Somalia may have affected Italian soldiers based there with a United Nations force in the mid-1990s, the report said.


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