The so-called “Land of fires” is an area in Campania, situated between the province of Caserta and the province of Naples, sadly known for being the most polluted area of this region, due to millions of toxic waste that have been illegally dumped here over the past 20 years.
National and international industries have been illegally disposing hazardous waste thanks to deals with local politicians and the Camorra, cutting down the enormous costs of legal disposing. Waste is not only buried underground, in fields where agriculture and farming are present, but also incinerated (that is when the name Land of fires comes from). The environmental disaster is the greatest in Italy, affecting not only soil, and the related products of agriculture and breeding, but also the aquifer. The presence of leachate flowing underground; poisons filling up enormous caves; the air unbreathable due to miasmas and the smoke coming from pyres set on fire. Day by day, the lives of people living near the dumping sites are put at risk, especially among children and young people. On January, 2 2016 after pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato si” on the environment and after years of denounciations and protests, the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (the Italian Institute for Health) has finally officialized and certified the connection between pollution and the alarming increase of cancer cases in the region. Literally, “in the land of fires mortality is higher also due to exposition to a system of environmental pollution elements, emitted or released by illegal dumps and/or by uncontrolled incineration of hazardous waste”.