Rome residents asked not to wrap Christmas gifts amid trash crisis

Rome mayor had pledged to clean up capital by Christmas.

Rome residents have been asked to wrap fewer Christmas presents as the city battles to clean up its rubbish-strewn streets.

The bizarre appeal came from the city's new environment councillor Sabrina Alfonsi who has identified wrapping paper and packaging as an additional problem over the Christmas season.

Alfonsi's suggestion, reported by Rome newspaper Il Messaggero, is that Romans cut down on gift wrap, stressing that the city needs the help of citizens in keeping the capital clean.

"This year we have to limit packaging and gift wrap", stated Alfonsi, before adding that "fewer parcels doesn't necessarily mean fewer gifts."

Underlining the uphill task the city has in dealing with the garbage crisis, Alfonsi told Il Messaggero that the issue of wrapping paper and gift packaging is "no joke".

"Christmas is a particularly difficult time" - she said - "The production of waste is growing, when it should be decreasing. Starting with gift wrap".

In late October Rome's newly-elected mayor Roberto Gualtieri pledged to "clean up the city by Christmas, perhaps sooner."

A week later Gualtieri unveiled a €40 million plan to clean up Rome "within 60 days", dropping the Christmas reference, with Alfonsi telling newspaper Corriere della Sera that "on 31 December we could have a better situation than we have now."

This was followed in mid-November with news that the city's AMA rubbish collection workers are to receive a bonus of up to €360 if they show up for work on their scheduled workdays over the Christmas season.

Today it was announced that AMA workers would take part in a 24-hour national strike on Monday 13 December, only removing rubbish from outside Rome's hospitals.

It is not known if the strike will count as a day off in relation to the Christmas bonus.

Cover photo La Repubblica