How environmental are we?

The town Cremona in the Lombardy region in north-eastern Italy has been billed the most ecological city in the country according to the environmental association Legambiente, which has been monitoring 100 cities in Italy for ten years. Ratings in the recently presented "Ecosistema Urbano" report were based, among many things, on recycling facilities , on the number of public transport vehicles run by electricty or less polluting fuels, and the availability of pedestrianised areas and cycle paths. The report confirms the widening gap in environmental standards between the north and the south of Italy: out of the top six cities, five are in Lombardy. The bottom half of the chart is dominated by southern cities but also includes Rome, which comes in at 68 (worse than Naples placed at 67) and Milan at number 84. However Rome gets praise for being the city that has done most to limit traffic and Naples for producing less rubbish per head than the other big cities.

Italians now recycle 16.9 per cent of their rubbish, compared to 4 per cent ten years ago. The increase in recycling has only slightly diminished the amount of rubbish that ends up in landfills or incinerators: 24.5 million tonnes in 2001, against the 25 million of 1993.

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