Italy makes progress but still faces ‘numerous challenges’April 2013
Fifteen of the 30 European cities with the worst air pollution are in Italy, reports the OECD in its environmental performance review of the country.
The review concedes that Italy has beefed up its environmental legislation and policies in recent years, enabling it to reduce air and water pollution, manage waste better, and improve biodiversity protection.
These achievements are attributed to increased fuel taxes, more incentives to use energy efficiently, and liberalised energy, transport and environmental services.
However, Italy continues to face ‘numerous environmental challenges’, says the OECD report.
Municipal waste generation has increased more rapidly than gross domestic product, in contrast to the performance of many OECD countries.
The review says about 15,000 Italian dumping sites, many of them illegal, are contaminating land, the water infrastructure is ageing, and many groundwater aquifers are polluted and over-used.
The north has a better record in climate change and environmental compliance practice and dealing with, and enforcing, water and waste management, says the report.
The review recommends that Italy strengthens the coherence and enforcement of its environmental governance and policies and links these to countrywide economic and social targets.
In particular, it asks Italy to develop a green growth strategy to benefit both the environment and the economy.
The country’s future intentions are tacitly applauded in the report: “Italy is looking to mainstream environment into its economic policy as it recovers from the effects of the economic crisis. It is seeking opportunities for green tax reform as well as investment in clean energy and sustainable transport modes.”