Naples Garbage Exported as Europe Grapples with Mounds of Refuse

For nearly three months, Naples — where garbage piles up on the streets because the city has run out of landfill space — has been shipping much of its refuse to Hamburg by train. The International Herald Tribune reports that this mass transfer of rotting trash is symptomatic of a larger problem as Europe — where opposition to landfills is growing and space is limited — prepares to meet strict targets that would greatly reduce the trash stream through recycling and high-tech incineration.

The trash train, with 56 cars bearing 700 tons of garbage a day, hauls refuse to a city symbolic of Europe’s future. Hamburg, governed by the German Green Party, has one of Europe’s most advanced recycling programs and state-of-the-art incinerators. City officials said they will accept Naples trash for several more months as an emergency measure. Meanwhile, the member states of the European Union are working to meet a goal of slashing the amount of trash sent to landfills to 35 percent of 1995 levels.