The government is taking a hard line with southern Italy in an attempt to solve the ongoing trash crisis.

While in the rest of Italy particularly in the northern regions there has been an increase in rubbish recycling in the last few years, the south is dragging behind the rest of the country.

According to a report from the Italian news agency ANSA 30-40 per cent of rubbish is sorted for recycling in the north compared with only about 10 per cent in the south.

A large number of Campanias refuse collection firms fail to recycle the refuse they pick up. Environment minister Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio has announced that firms that dont recycle run the risk being taken over. Three refuse collection companies have already been placed under direct government control so far.

The south must recycle its rubbish just as the rest of the country does, was the stern message of the environment minister.

Over the past few weeks, mountains of refuse have piled up along streets in the south as the overloaded trash disposal system breaks down. Residents in Campania have been staging angry protests and setting rubbish on fire. However siting new rubbish treatment plants is also a problem, with locals protesting at any new suggestions put forward.