Doctors warn Rome trash crisis poses serious health risk

Medics express concerns to Rome mayor over "serious public health problem."

Rome's associaton of doctors and dentists has expressed public health concerns in relation to the capital's rubbish crisis which has escalated since the fire that devastated the crucial Salario waste treatment plant on 11 December.

In a letter addressed to Rome's mayor Virginia Raggi as well as Italy's health minister Giulia Grillo and environment minister Sergio Costa, the medical association wrote that the current condition of waste in Rome, "especially in front of hospitals, schools, shopping centers, public parks and residential areas, risks creating a serious public health problem."

Each of the recipients of the letter, sent on 7 January, must work together to seek a "definitive solution to the problem", according to the Ordine dei Medici Chirurghi e degli Odontoiatri (OMCeO Roma).

The letter comes after the Lazio branch of the national association of school principals warned that schools would not reopen after Christmas unless rubbish was removed from the city's streets. Italy's education minister Marco Bussetti intervened in support of the principals, and the city promptly removed the garbage piled up outside schools which reopened as normal on 7 January.

Rome's mayor is reportedly preparing a report for the public prosecutor's office in relation to the collection of rubbish in the capital, the suspicious fire at the Salario plant and the fact that more than 350 city bins were destroyed by fire in 2018 - 50 of which were set alight on New Year's Eve alone.

The worsening rubbish crisis has coincided with the Christmas season, a time when Rome's waste removal service is traditionally under strain.