The pollution of the Gela River has not been stopped, and continues to cost Italy and Sicily money in terms of fines to pay for infringements of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. This was confirmed by the European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Sinkeviius, in response to a question from the parliamentarian Ignazio Corrao of the Green group.
It was the latter, in fact, who pointed out that “the waters of the river have returned to being black, probably contaminated by untreated wastewater that ends up in the sea” and that “the age-old phenomenon has continued for years now, without any type of resolutive or sanctioning action by the competent authorities “. The Commission, in its reply, noted that “the Court of Justice of the European Union has condemned Italy to pay a lump sum and a penalty calculated for each semester of delay and progressively reduced in proportion to the reduction of residual non-conformities. “.
Furthermore, the control and monitoring system managed by the Region of Sicily is governed by the “Management plan of the hydrographic district of Sicily 2015-2021”; the status of the water body in question is well known to local authorities. In the case of the Gela River, the pressure exerted by agriculture is added to the inadequate treatment of waste water “.
Furthermore, “the Commission services monitor the implementation of the Water Framework Directive in connection with the second cycle of River Basin Management Plans and related programs of measures”. “How is it possible – Corrao affirms in a note – that regional and national institutions prefer to pay for infringements rather than spend the resources available to monitor and clean up the territory? The EU Commission is a real indictment, against a system that for years has allowed to pollute the Gela River “.
“Already next Monday in Strasbourg – he adds – I will present a question on the umpteenth case of landfill enlargement, that of Timpazzo, where the Region for ’emergency’ issues, has practically ignored the negative opinion of the director of the Biviere nature reserve, in this way, bypassing the necessary environmental impact assessment. I hope that the response of the European Commission and the upcoming battles I am conducting here in Brussels can be a spur and help to the local and national representatives of the territory “.