Press release, June 26, 2023

Also for the 2023 edition of Legambiente’s Goletta Verde Life Delfi will be one of the projects hosted on board

Pollution, illegal construction, mala purification, poor waste management, assault on fish stocks and biodiversity: all faces of illegal pressure on our country’s marine ecosystem. This is told by Legambiente’s historic dossier “Mare Monstrum,” of which the green swan publishes today a preview of the new edition, taking stock of the illegalities related to the phenomena of pollution of the sea related to waste management, discharges into the sea and mala purification, the result of an accurate processing of data from law enforcement agencies and harbor master’s offices. The data analyzed relate to the number of crimes, persons reported or arrested, criminal seizures and their value, offenses and administrative penalties.

“Mare Monstrum” preview data.
In 2022 there were 13,229 contested offenses along Italy’s coasts, representing 1.8 violations per kilometer of coastline. Administrative offenses grew in 2022, amounting to 8,499 (+24.2 percent compared to 2021) and administrative penalties, 8,935 those imposed (+47.7 percent compared to 2021). Decreasing, however, are the number of offenses (4,730, -32.9% over 2021) and the number of people reported or arrested (4,844, -43.6% compared to 2021) and that of seizures (1,623, -51.7% compared to 2021), with an economic value of more than 385 million euros.
Campania remains first in the ranking: in 2022 it counted 1,245 crimes and alone accounted for 26.3 percent of the national total. There were 989 people reported and arrested, 496 seizures, 1,273 administrative offenses (up 45.7 percent from 2021) and 1,247 fines (up 42.7 percent from 2021). In second place by number of offenses rises Puglia (fourth last year), which counted 559 offenses in 2022, accounting for 11.8 percent of the national total. It is followed by Latium with 539 offenses (11.4 percent of the total) but which ranks second as the number of people reported and arrested (673) and seizures (216 those executed). Calabria (second as administrative offenses and penalties, 1,018 and 1,062 respectively) rises to fourth place with 344 offenses, followed by Sicily, which with 336 offenses drops two places from the 2021 ranking. Sixth is Emilia-Romagna with 271 crimes. Of note, the incidence of crimes related to the polluted sea in the four regions with a traditional mafia presence (Campania, Puglia, Calabria and Sicily) rises from 51.8 percent in 2021 to 52.5 percent in 2022.

Goletta Verde and Goletta dei Laghi 2023
And it is from poor or lack of purification and water pollution that, with the motto “We will never stop,” set sail the Goletta Verde and Goletta dei Laghi 2023: the two historic Legambiente campaigns-now in their 37th and 18th editions, respectively-that aim not to let down their guard on the quality of marine and lake waters and the abuses that deface coastlines and shores. Realized with the main partnerships of ANEV, CONOU, Novamont and Renexia and the media partnership of La Nuova Ecologia. And which, again this year, will involve hundreds of volunteers throughout Italy, engaged in water sampling, then subject to microbiological analysis: a huge citizen science operation that has few equals in terms of capillarity and extension.
Goletta Verde will begin its voyage in defense of the seas on June 30 in Genoa, traveling from north to south along the coasts of the Peninsula and ending its journey in S. Giorgio di Nogaro in Friuli-Venezia Giulia on August 10-11. Among the topics on board are purification, combating the climate crisis, beach and marine litter, safeguarding biodiversity (with several projects such as Life Delfi and Life Elife) to the virtuous chains of the circular economy and green chemistry for pollution protection. Also this year special focus of some of the stages will be the theme of off-shore wind development: energy from wind, on land and at sea, in fact plays a key role in achieving the decarbonization goals to 2030, contributing to the fight against the climate emergency, to the reduction of costs in bills for families and businesses and to the creation of new jobs.Goletta dei Laghi will depart June 29 from Lake Santa Croce (Veneto) and Mucille Lakes (Friuli-Venezia Giulia)-then touching on Lombardy, Piedmont, Marche, Umbria, Abruzzo, Lazio, Campania, Molise, Puglia, and Sicily-and will end its journey in Calabria on August 3. Aiming to monitor the state of health of Italy’s lake basins, the campaign will expose critical issues while promoting virtuous examples of management and sustainability; turning the spotlight on untreated and polluting discharges, neglect and pollution by microplastics, drought, cementing and water catchment. Also on board this year is the LIFE Blue Lakes project to prevent and reduce microplastic pollution. The project will seek to raise awareness of the issue through a 20-stop roadshow and promote a Lakes Manifesto to engage local governments in protecting these precious ecosystems.

“The health of our seas and lakes can no longer wait,” explains Giorgio Zampetti, Director General of Legambiente. “This is clear from the data of ‘Mare Monstrum’ and the annual monitoring of our Golette, but also from the four active EU infringement procedures against Italy on the subject of sewerage, sewerage and purification that have already cost 142 million euros. Stopping illegal discharges now and making the best use of PNRR funds to build new purification plants and implement existing ones, in favor of water reuse and sludge recovery, and complete the sewerage network must be priorities for the government. But our campaigns will also be an opportunity to propose and promote the different policies and virtuous experiences against the climate crisis and for the protection of marine and lake ecosystems, as well as strategic for the future of coastal communities, from a social, economic and employment point of view. First and foremost is the issue of offshore wind: a strategic opportunity for achieving the goals of emissions reduction and 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035, a necessary milestone for meeting the climate challenge.”


The 5 proposals. According to the Green Swan, it is urgent to move toward full and effective wastewater purification through 5 actions: 1) revitalize at national and local level the construction and upgrading and/or retrofitting of sewerage and purification systems, improving the entire management system, integrating the water cycle (sewerage collection and purification) with the waste cycle (sewage sludge management); 2) make wastewater purification more efficient, enhancing it as a resource and allowing its full reuse in strategic sectors such as agriculture by overcoming national regulatory obstacles (Ministerial Decree 185/2003) with the implementation of EU Regulation 741/2020; 3) strengthen and make more efficient the controls of the Regional Environmental Protection Agencies networked in the National Environmental Protection System, coordinated by Ispra (SNPA) and the controls of law enforcement agencies against illegal discharges; 4) regulate the discharge of liquid waste (black and gray water, bilge water, etc.) into the sea, establishing, for example, special zones of prohibition of any type of discharge, even beyond 12 miles from the coast; 5) promote active policies for prevention in waste production and recycling and for the better protection of the sea and the coast.