In Naples, a Trash Crisis Spurs a Social Innovation Laboratory

Read the full post at Triple Pundit.

In the summer of 2008, the southern Italian city of Naples (Napoli) dominated the newswires with stories about trash piles in streets, piazzas, and parks.  Municipal workers refused to pick up trash in part because the surrounding region’s landfills were at full capacity.  The building of incinerators only infuriated Napolitanos who saw their construction as a ruse to import trash from the northern Italy.  Meanwhile stories of soil in farmland and parks becoming contaminated angered locals even more.

Indifference from the national government, local bureaucratic incompetence, and organized crime syndicates have all had a role in the Naples’ trash crisis.  But residents within the city and throughout the Napolitania region have taken matters like waste diversion, recycling, and beautifying their communities into their own hands.  Local activism, which takes the form of flash mobs, guerilla gardening, and innovative job creation, is certainly inspiring.  But what is occurring in Naples could teach citizens around the world about how apathy from both government and business cannot be deterrents to revitalizing communities.

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