The University of Arizona

Political ecology of health in the Land of Fires: a hotspot of environmental crimes in the south of Italy

Giacomo D'Alisa, Anna Rita Germani, Pasquale Marcello Falcone, Piergiuseppe Morone


Abstract Environmental crimes, if they are perceived as victimless, have not received the appropriate governmental response and have been frequently ranked low on the law enforcement priority list, punished with lenient or no administrative sanctions. This has contributed to an underestimation of the immediate consequences of environmental crimes, which can go undetected for lengthy periods. On the contrary, the mismanagement and illegal trafficking of waste in the Land of Fires, an area in the Campania region in the South of Italy, has been experienced as a 'victimful' crime. Using a political ecology of health approach, and integrating qualitative and quantitative methods, we investigate how the perception of being a victim of waste-related environmental crimes has been magnified by evidence of serious disease outcomes. Health concerns have become a central issue in the resurgence of grassroots movements against waste mismanagement in Campania. Keywords: Environmental crime, political ecology of health, waste conflict, Campania

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