Rubbish piuled up by bins in front of the Circus Maximus in Rome

Romans write to UNESCO over ‘mortifying’ scenes of rubbish

By Region Central Italy Environment News

Rome, a city of history and beauty that sadly most of the time looks like a teenager’s bedroom filled with rubbish. Artists, professors and environmentalists have appealed to UNESCO to remind the city’s council of its duty to keep it clean.

It is an unpalatable truth that the city of Rome is not as clean as it should be. In corners of the city there are mounds of rubbish, and this is without any strikes.

The latest mayor of Rome has yet again failed to act on their promise to clean up the city. Roberto Gualtieri, was elected mayor last October, and failed in his promise to give the city an “extraordinary clean-up” by Christmas. However, he now says 655 more rubbish collectors are being hired. The first 155 are due to start by the end of June. The council has also approved the creation of a committee to work on “guaranteeing decorum”.

Now, culture sector workers, artists, professors and environmentalists living in Rome’s historic centre have said enough is enough, The Guardian reports. They have urged UNESCO to remind the city’s council of its duty to protect the world heritage site. They decried “mortifying” scenes of rubbish and other signs of decay.

Letter to UNESCO Head

In a letter addressed to Lazare Eloundou Assomo, the chief of UNESCO’s world heritage centre, the group said its complaints to authorities in the Italian capital had been ignored. 150 people signed the letter.

Rome’s entire historic centre was inscribed on the world heritage list in 1980. It includes treasures such as the Trevi fountain, Colosseum and Spanish Steps. However, various Rome administrations have struggled to keep it clean. Along with the piles of rubbish, the more recent “invasion” of bar and restaurant tables on the city’s cobbled streets and electric scooters are adding to the woes.

The group argued the council was not meeting its responsibility to conserve the site. They appealed to UNESCO to push for “a turnaround”.

“Between the weeds that are not cut, the rubbish on the streets and the noise, the general scene is mortifying,” the group wrote in the letter.

But the problems are not confined to the centre – overflowing bins, graffiti and unkempt parks are common sights across Rome. It is certainly a contributory factor to the almost common sight of wild boar searching for food in bins in the city’s northern districts.

READ MORE: Picnics banned in Rome due to wild boar incursion

Used to be a pleasant place to live

The signatories of the letter recalled when the districts of Rome’s centre were a pleasant place to live. Chiara Rapaccini, an artist and the widow of the film director Mario Monicelli, told Corriere della Sera: “We lived in Monti since 1988 and made a documentary about the district’s beauty. The decay of Monti hurts me, and it would have hurt Mario too.”

Myriam D’Andrea, a director at Ispra, the environmental agency, took issue with the electric scooters. They are often used and parked with abandon. “They have invaded the city in a completely wild way,” she said. On Sunday, two American tourists were each fined €400 for throwing an electric scooter down the Spanish Steps. A visitor from Saudi Arabia recently drove a Maserati down the 17th-century staircase.

Leave a Reply