U.S. warns citizens over Naples garbage crisis

ROME Mon Jul 9, 2007 2:28pm EDT

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ROME (Reuters) - The United States embassy in Rome has warned U.S citizens they may face a health risk in Italy's southern Campania region due to a garbage crisis that has filled streets with piles of rubbish.

"U.S. citizens traveling to or through the area may encounter mounds of garbage, open fires with potentially toxic fumes, and/or sporadic public demonstrations by local residents attempting to block access to dumps," the embassy said in an advisory note.

Since May, streets in Naples and nearby towns have been piled with household waste that has nowhere else to go -- the fault of political mismanagement, conflicting interests and organized crime.

The embassy warned that airborne particles and fumes from these fires could aggravate respiratory problems and the fires could release toxic substances into the air.

Last month the European Commission took legal action against Italy over the thousands of tonnes of uncollected waste, saying it posed serious health and environmental risks through the spread of disease and through pollution of air, water and land.

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