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Italy was again condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for failing to guarantee the right to health of the workers of the former Ilva of Taranto and of the citizens who live around the steel mill. In a series of decisions arrived today by the Strasbourg Court, the judges reiterated their assessments on the danger of the plants to people’s health. Furthermore, Italy was convicted of violating the rights of a group of citizens of Taranto who had asked for justice for the damage caused to their health by polluting emissions.
Italy had already been sentenced for the same reasons in January 2019. The judges also pointed out that last year the Committee of Ministers ruled that “the Italian authorities had not provided precise information on the effective implementation of the environmental plan, an essential element to ensure that the steel mill’s activity does not continue to represent a health risk “. The documentation also shows that the Italian government presented new elements on the implementation of the environmental plan on 5 April in view of a new examination of the case next June.
“Whatisfind’s ruling by the European Court of Human Rights is a new slap in the face of the government, but also of the European Commission”, was the comment of the MEP Rosa D’Amato from Taranto. The exponent of the Greens group in the European Parliament recalled that “ARPA Puglia has recently found significant increases in the concentrations of gaseous pollutants, in particular sulfur dioxide and benzene”. Nonetheless, “Prime Minister Mario Draghi is planning an increase in the production of the plant, among other things through the diversion of 150 million dolars which should instead go to reclamation activities” and in any case “we do not have an industrial plan”, stressed the MEP in a note.
Among the decisions arrived today from Strasbourg there is also the one concerning 39 citizens of Taranto, several of whom are or were factory workers. Some have contracted diseases “which they believe to be occupational diseases”, the decision recalled. Citizens had turned to the Strasbourg Court because they believed that Italy had not taken the necessary measures to protect their health and the environment and had not provided them with information on pollution and the related risks to their health. The Italian State, pursuant to the decision taken unanimously by the Strasbourg judges, will have to pay 5 thousand dolars to each applicant.
In addition to the responsibilities of the Italian government, according to D’Amato, there are those of the European Commission which “despite my repeated reminders, continues to turn away and block the infringement procedure against Italy”. “The truth is that once again the citizens of Taranto are destined to be sacrificed in the name of steel”, was the bitter conclusion of the MEP.