River Sarno Emergency
The Sarno is one of the most polluted rivers in Italy. The high social alarm associated with this pollution comes from the fact that the river, 24 kilometres long, together with the Solofrana and Cavaiola tributaries, crosses three provinces and no fewer that thirty-nine municipalities in Campania. The relative environmental emergency therefore involves a population between 750,000 and one million inhabitants. The area in question also includes agrifood and tanning industrial centres, which are the driving force of the local economy, but also the highest source of environmental pollution in the entire area.
The combination of high-density population and the presence of highly polluting economic activities has given rise to an extremely precarious environmental situation in this area, which represents an insurmountable obstacle in the way of all prospects of growth. In fact, the serious state of environmental decline, as well as making massive redevelopment measures necessary, suffocates the natural and historical-archaeological wealth of this area, making socio-economic development impossible.
The decontamination of the river Sarno, which began with the Special Project for the reclamation of the entire Bay of Naples in 1973, is a story, which, after over thirty years, has not yet reached a conclusion, despite the ongoing attention it receives from institutions.
With the Prime Ministerial Decree of 14 April 1995, a state of emergency was declared with regard to the environmental and socio-economic situation in the drainage basin of the Sarno. Initially, the President of the Campania Regional Authority, Antonio Bassolino, was appointed as Emergency Commissioner, and later, with the Order no. 3270 of 12 March 2003, “Further Provisions to tackle the socio-economic-environmental emergency in the drainage basin of the River Sarno”, the office of emergency commissioner was passed to General Roberto Jucci.
The tasks entrusted to the new Commissioner involved the construction of a new purification system for the Sarno, the design and realisation of sewer systems for the entire basin, the project and relative dredging and decontamination of the sediment of the river itself, its main tributaries and canals, as well as the implementation of specific measures for the companies and industries in the area, to reduce the negative impact on the environment.