From 1990 to 2012, over 10 million tons of waste is believed to have been collected by Mafia groups in Italy and burned at illegal trash sites, according to environmental group Legambiente.
Criminal justice programs in Italy reported 82 investigations of the mafia and the arrest of over 900 members. 443 waste collection companies have were also investigated during this time.
In certain areas surrounding Naples where many illegal dumping sites are located, the cancer rates of its residents has increased by as much as 50 percent.
In addition to the health risks, industries in Italy are losing market share as customers become concerned about leakage from the trash dumping. The Mozzarella industry saw a drop of 30 percent in sales for November 2013 as a result from trash concerns, representing a loss of $27.5 Million.
In 2012, the Italian Mafia is estimated to have made $1.2 Billion from illegal waste dumping.
To legitimately dispose of trash costs about $826 per ton.
Source: Silvia Marchetti, “The New Vesuvius Smothers Italy’s Prime Products,” Newsweek, January 1, 2014.