The Commander of the Southern Operational Forces, General Giuseppenicola Tota, and the General Manager of Ecopneus, Giovanni Corbetta, have taken part to the meeting.

A concrete contribution to the environmental emergencies of the territory and to the fight against illegal waste management activities. This is the role of the “Protocol for the execution of extraordinary interventions of collection of End-of-Life Tyres from the territories of the Provinces of Naples and Caserta”. It has given concrete answers to the critical issues present on the territory linked to illegal dumping of End-of-Life Tyres since 2013.

Today’s meeting was held at Palazzo Salerno, the headquarters of the Italian Army’s Southern Operational Forces. The mayors of the towns of the Terra dei Fuochi (Land of Fires) involved in the activities of the Protocol were present at the meeting. An evaluation of the activities has been made to optimise the coordination of the various subjects involved on the territory and to better give an answer to the needs of the protection of both the environment and citizens’ health. The meeting has also identified some potential areas of improvement.

Indeed, the meeting has carefully analysed some strategic as well as technical-operative aspects of the activities together with Ecopneus. Through the company Geos Environment, Ecopneus guarantees the correct recovery of the ELTs collected by the Councils. This will allow these ELTs to become a useful resource for the citizens in the form of recycled rubber and energy. The activities of the Protocol are regularly audited by the “Committee of vigilance on the implementation of the interventions of collection and management of End-of-Life Tyres in the territory of the Provinces of Naples and Caserta”. This committee is chaired by Mr Sergio Cristofanelli and has been created within the Ministry of the Environment and the Protection of the Territory and the Sea.

The Person in charge of the fight to waste fires, Vice Prefect Filippo Romano, greatly relies on the efficacy of the recovery action carried out by Ecopneus. He stated: “(it is) a best practice that can become a point of reference for other productive chains, also for what concerns the recovery of end materials that do not come from legal chains, but from irregular sales of products from abroad or from local companies operating “off-the-books””.

Overall, more than 22,000 tonnes of End-of-Life tyres have been collected from the roads of the Provinces of Naples and Caserta since 2013. They have all been recovered thanks to the Protocol. An activity of collection and recovery that is to be added to the constant and daily ELT collection from Region Campania’s tyre dealers (as from all the rest of Italy) from the part of Ecopneus.

In 2020, ELT collection on the territory has so far reached 278 tonnes (January-September). It has involved 37 Councils of the Provinces of Naples and Caserta. In 2019, instead, the total amount of collected ELTs was 410 tonnes and 40 councils were involved.

19,011 tonnes of ELTs from three large stacks are to be added to the amounts collected along the roads. These three large stacks were a large problem for the territory. They were: 8,483 tonnes of ELTs collected in Scisciano (NA) in 2013; 6,135 tonnes were taken away from the Gianturco area of Naples in 2016; and, finally, the third stack was in Villa Literno (CE), where 4,390 tonnes of ELTs were removed.

There have been several projects made with the recycled rubber collected in this way on the territory. One must mention the playground in Caivano’s Parco Verde Neighbourhood; the synthetic turf football pitch of the Landieri Stadium in Scampia, and the football pitches made in the Vanvitelli Neighbourhood in Caserta. These installations have been made possible thanks to a correct management of ELTs, and they are now important for the social life and the wellbeing of the local communities.

How the Activities of the Protocol work

This Protocol was signed by the Ministry of the Environment, the Commissioner nominated by the Home Office in order to fight the phenomenon of waste fires in the Region Campania, the Prefectures and the Councils of Naples and Caserta, and Ecopneus in 2013. This Protocol provides for extraordinary activities of collection of the End-of-Life tyres abandoned on public ground in the territory of the Provinces of Naples and Caserta thanks to the financial resources made available by the partners of Ecopneus upon system setup.

Through the companies in charge of the collection they have already partnerships with, the Councils carry out the collection of ELTs on public ground and they store them in specific areas to subsequently allow Ecopneus to organise their collection for free. Ecopneus, then, recovers these ELTs either as material or energy and bears all the costs for these activities.