Crimes against the environment
A conversation with Raffaele Cantone
In this interview, Raffaele Cantone offers some keys to the interpretation of «eco-mafias» and their activities, dwelling especially on the factors that contributed to the concentration of this phenomenon in Campania, and notably in some areas in the Provinces of Naples and Caserta. Local geographical factors, as well as a capacity for criminal innovation and forging political allegiances, have allowed camorra leaders to successfully enter the waste disposal sector, and especially the toxic waste traffic. These factors include some easy road connections, in-depth knowledge of the land afforded by the rural origins of the clans, the clans’ domination of the land transport sector and their experience in the building sector, and the higher profitability of farmland when used illegally as a consequence of the crisis of the agricultural sector caused by international competition. This, however, is not an exclusively southern phenomenon. It is becoming increasingly widespread in some areas in the North of Italy, favored by the slowing down of the southbound traffics. Cantone dwells extensively on the inadequacy of public administrations, pointing out especially the ineffectiveness of their preventive and repressive control. The collusion of the clans with local administration and the weakness of the sanction system play a decisive role in favoring environmentally destructive practices such as uncontrolled building development and illegal waste disposal, which have been prominent in the national and international news over the last few years.