“Il problema del mare sporco ed in alcuni tratti inquinato a Napoli non si risolve con misure palliative, piccoli interventi. È fondamentale che si separi la rete delle acque bianche da quelle delle acque nere.” [“The problem of the dirty and in some places polluted sea in Naples cannot be solved with palliative measures, small interventions. It is essential that the non-sewage water network is separated from the sewage water network.”]

Maurizio Simeone, Director, Gaiola Underwater Park, Bay of Naples
Read more: Algae in the Mediterranean

On the Naples coast last week, local authorities banned swimming on two beach areas after routine testing found their waters contained between five and ten times the safe concentration of E. coli bacteria. Corriere del Mezzogiorno’s Fabrizio Geremicca interviewed ecologist Maurizio Simeone, who suggested storm overflows—when water utilities discharge both sewage and non-sewage wastewater together during heavy rainfall to prevent catastrophic backups in pre-1970s pipe infrastructure—might have caused the spike in concentrations of bacteria and subsequent algal blooms, and pointed to the roughly €70 billion in post-pandemic EU funding Italy plans to spend on climate-related projects as an historic chance to upgrade the network.

5th July 2023

The Bay of Naples from northwest in 2020. Aashish Pareek/Unsplash.