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Urban waste incinerator of Acerra, Italy

A lead struggle in Italy against waste management model which destroys life, environment, democracy

This case form has been translated for your convenience by voluntary translators. Therefore, they may contain errors. Any discrepancies or differences created in translating this content from the original version into another language are not binding and have no legal effect. If any questions arise related to the accuracy of the information contained in these translations, please refer to the original version of the case in: Italian


The project and the construction of the waste incinerator with energy recovery of Acerra is to be framed within the “state of emergency” for the management of urban trash declared by the Central Government in the Campania Region from 1994 to 2009. The “emergency” allowed for the application of special laws and the derogation of ordinary ones.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Urban waste incinerator of Acerra, Italy
State or province:Province of Naples, Campania Region
Location of conflict:Locality of Pantano in Acerra
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Urban development conflicts
Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In 1999 FIBE won the tender for the management of urban waste in Campania. In 2000 the construction site of the incinerator was opened with the consent of VAS (Valutazione Ambientale Strategica: strategic environmental evaluation) but not that of VIA. The construction site was interrupted almost immediately because of failure in the design phase and the consequent changes asked by the Ministry of Environment.

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Project area:16 ha
Level of Investment for the conflictive project400,000,000.00 USD
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:60,000 citizens of Acerra
Start of the conflict:01/01/2000
Company names or state enterprises:Fibe s.p.a. (FIBE) from Italy
Edilcar from Italy - Subcontract builder
A2A s.p.a. from Italy - Manager of the incinerator
Salini Impregilo from Italy
Relevant government actors:- Commissioner for the waste emergency.
- Ministry of the Environment.
- President of the Campania Region.
- Prefect of Naples.
- Civil Protection.
- Judiciary.
- European Union.
- Mayor of Acerra.
International and Finance InstitutionsAssociazione Bancaria Italiana (Abi) from Italy
Capitalia spa from Italy
Banca Intesa from Italy
San Paolo Imi from Italy
Gruppo Unicredito Italiano from Italy
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Local organizations:
- Comitato contro il Megainceneritore di Acerra.
- Donne 29 Agosto.
- Aprile Laboratorio Politico.
- MDA - Movimento Disoccupati di Acerra.
Regional organizations:
- Coordinamento Regionale Rifiuti ((
- Assise di Palazzo Marigliano (
National organizations:
- Associazione Medici per L’Ambiente – ISDE Italia (
- Zero Waste Italy (
International organizations:
- Zero Waste Europe (
- Global Alliance Against Incinerators – GAIA ((
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Mine tailing spills, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Genetic contamination, Global warming, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Other Environmental impacts- Exhaust gas emission for waste transport. V
- Increase in waste P
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession
Other socio-economic impactsdamage to agriculture
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Violent targeting of activists
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Proposal and development of alternatives:In 2001 the "Movement against the Mega-incinerator of Acerra" has proposed to the Commissioner an alternative plan for waste management in Campania. This plan was based upon reducing, reusing and recycling waste materials. The Movement was not only against the incinerator but also against the entire waste management plan as designed by the Commissioner, which assumed a private management geared to the maximization of profits for the private investors. In 2004, supported by the "Zero Waste Italian Network", it has been proposed a plan for a more complex recycling, based on curbside collection and on incentives derived from waste taxes deduction. In 2005, the "Acerra Movement", in the absence of waste recycling managed by the responsible institutions, has set up an auto-organized recycling, by entering into agreement with local administration, centers of materials recycling and citizens.
Some of the proposals that were elaborated within the Acerra’s struggles have become a common legacy for the movements emerged in Campania during the years of “emergency”, and have been taken as a model by several institutional leaders, such as the Major of Naples.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:At the end, the incinerator was built but the Government suppressed demonstrations with the use of police force. Other committees, which were subsequently launched in Campania, took the struggle against the incinerator construction as a model. Besides that, some institutional leaders have been positively influenced by their proposals.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

- Decreto n. 195 del 17 dicembre 2009
[click to view]

- Ordinanza del Presidente del Consiglio dei ministri dell'11 febbraio 1994, n. 35.
[click to view]

- Decreto legge n. 61 dell'11 maggio 2007, convertito in legge n. 87 del 5 luglio 2007
[click to view]

- Decreto-legge n. 172 del 6 novembre 2008
[click to view]

- Decreto legge n. 90 del 23 maggio 2008, convertito in legge n. 123 del 14 luglio 2008
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Alberto Grosso, Vito Marinella, Rifiuti. Produzione e gestione in Campania, Agenzia regionale per il recupero dell'ambiente, Napoli, 2008.

Paolo Rabitti, ECOBALLE Tutte le verità su discariche, inceneritori, smaltimento abusivo dei rifiuti, Aliberti editore, 2008, pp. 37 – 43.

Tommaso Sodano, Nello Trocchia, La Peste. La mia battaglia contro i rifiuti della politica italiana, Rizzoli, 2010

Senior K. and Mazza A. Italian “Triangle of Death” linked to waste crisis. The Lancet Oncology 5, 525–527, 2004.

Giacomo D’Alisa et al. Conflict in Campania: waste emergency or crisis of democracy. Ecological Economics 70, pp. 239–249, 2010.

ARPAC Campania, Siti contaminati in Campania, 2008.

Gabriella Gribaudi, Il ciclo vizioso dei rifiuti campani, “Il Mulino”, 2008

Alessandro Iacuelli, Le vie infinite dei rifiuti, 2008, pp. 125 e segg.
[click to view]

D’Alisa et al.(2010) Conflict in Campania: Waste emergency or crisis of democracy, Ecological Economics, 70, 2

Assise della città di Napoli e del Mezzogiorno d'Italia, Osservazioni al Piano Regionale Rifiuti Urbani della Regione Campania, 2007. (PDF).:
[click to view]

SOGIN-CESI, su incarico del Commissario di Governo, “Caratterizzazione e analisi degli inquinanti di suoli nel comprensorio di Acerra”, 2003. (PDF):
[click to view]

Una Montagna di Balle, regia di Nicola Angrisano, prodotto da Insu tv, 77’, 2009.
[click to view]

Bollettino dell’Assise della città di Napoli e del Mezzogiorno d’Italia, gennaio – febbraio 2008. (PDF):
[click to view]

Termovalorizzatore di Acerra, Corriere del mezzogiorno.
[click to view]

Relazione del sopralluogo effettuato presso l'impianto di termovalorizzazione di Acerra, sito nella zona industriale in località Pantano (PDF), Provincia di Napoli, 28 luglio 2010:
[click to view]

Coordinamento Regionale Rifiuti – CO.RE.RI.
[click to view]

Laboratorio Campano, Inceneritore di Acerra
[click to view]

L’inceneritore e le ceneri di Acerra, Napoli Monitor (storia orale del conflitto)
[click to view]

Assise della città di Napoli e del Mezzogiorno d’Italia.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Protesta contro l’inceneritore del 25 gennaio 2014
[click to view]

L’inceneritore di Acerra tra malfunzionamenti, inchieste giudiziarie e contestazioni
[click to view]

Acerra contro l’inceneritore 29 agosto 2004
[click to view]

Manifestazione ad Acerra del 15 marzo 2008
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Salvatore Paolo De Rosa - [email protected] (ENTITLE)
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1801
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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