Collecting the trash in Venice is no easy feat. After all, it’s not like a garbage truck can just drive down the street – there aren’t any. Garbage is collected by workers with wheelbarrows and then loaded onto barges and costs about $335 million per ton to remove (compared to $84 million per ton on the mainland of Italy).
In an effort to reduce these costs, the Venetian government is asking locals and tourists to drink water from the tap instead of buying plastic bottles. The city’s tap water meets the highest purity standards, but many people are still buying bottled water from stores and in restaurants. To help promote the tap water, officials have started calling it “Acqua Veritas” and selling glass bottles labeled as such. The hope is that the fancy bottles will encourage people people to drink from the tap, reducing trash and the cost to remove it from the island.
With tourists outnumbering locals 100 to 1, visitors to Venice may have the greatest impact on the trash situation. So when in Venice, forgo the plastic and drink from the tap instead.
There’s a song I remember from Girl Scouts that had this refrain: “Don’t chuck your muck in my backyard, my backyard’s full.” The song came to mind when I saw the photo of Naples, Italy’s garbage and read how Naples has no where to put its trash so it’s sending it to Germany.
After the song played for a second or two in my head I thought, “Gee, Naples is probably not be the best place to go for a vacation in the summer months.”
There is an increasing garbage problem in much of Europe, according to the New York Times article, but Naples is the pits. Consider what a 56-car train filled with garbage will look and smell like. That’s what’s heading to Germany so the Germans can take care of it. Because Germans have trash recycling and reduction down to a fine art, their services are being called upon.
Maybe Naples needs to have some sort of pack it out policy for travelers. As you leave town you have to prove that you are leaving with what you brought in. Perhaps Naples could even entice guests to take extra trash out with them when they go. If you do go to Naples, please don’t litter. People have enough troubles wading through the streets as it is.