By Brett SmithJun 11 2015
Italy is famous for its large boot-shaped peninsula jutting down into the Mediterranean Sea from Southern Europe. Italy also includes the two nearby islands of Sicily and Sardinia, and dozens of other small Mediterranean islands.
Ecosystems within Italy include the mountainous regions high in the Alps, temperate woodlands, coastal waters, freshwater river systems and shrub lands in the southern part of the country. Generally speaking, Italy has warm, dry summers and mild winters, with higher elevations in northern Italy experiencing colder and wetter winters.
People consider Italy to be divided in half; with the commercial-centers in the north and the agrarian countryside in the south.
Despite a relatively hospitable climate for humans, Italy is largely unsuitable for farming. The country also has no major deposits of coal, oil, minerals or other natural resources. This means that Italy must be a net importer of natural resources to meet its demands.
Major natural gas reserves have been found along the Po River, however, Italy is still a major importer of energy sources, with more than 80 percent of the country’s energy raw materials being imported.
Major manufacturing industries in Italy include precision machinery, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and electric goods. The country also has booming tourism, fashion and garment industries.
Environmental Issues of Italy
Major environmental issues currently facing Italy include air pollution from energy and heating, transportation and industrial sources, polluted inland waters, acid rain, and insufficient industrial waste treatment and disposal programs.
A 2006 World Health Organization report found significant levels of air pollution (particle size 10 μm or less is PM10) in Italian cities ranged from 26.3 to 61.1 milligrams per cubic meter. The WHO guidelines establish the air quality standard at 20 micrograms per cubic meter, whereas the European Union Air Quality Directive is set at 40 micrograms per cubic meter (daily limit value). The European Environment Agency (EEA) has estimated that more than 66000 people die prematurely due to particulate air pollution. EEA has observed the annual average trend of PM10 in Italy in the period 2012-2015 to be below the threshold levels. Traffic stations continue to have high particulate concentrations.
Top 5 Environment – All you need to know for Italian Presidency
Top 5 Environment – All you need to know for the Italian EU Presidency Video Credits: viEUws
Localized incidents of water pollution have also been reported with some regularity. In 2014, the Mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, signed a 10-month ban on the use of public water in two neighborhoods in the Northwest part of the Italian capital after tests showed it was polluted.
A large steel manufacturing plant in Taranto, Italy, is emblematic of the country’s issues concerning industrial emissions. In October 2014, the European Commission formally reprimanded the ILVA steel plant and Italy’s government for not conforming to European industrial emissions regulations. Tests near the plant and Taranto showed heavy pollution of the air, soil, and ground waters.
In Veneto Region, Italy, the ground water, surface water and drinking water was contaminated with polyfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) (compounds harmful for human health), from a local chemical plant. It exposed approximately 127 000 citizens from the region to the chemical. It wasn’t until the spring of 2017 from the time of discovery in 2013 the contamination crisis was tackled, involving health, environment, political and legal authorities.
Environmental Policies of Italy
Because Italy is a member of the European Union, its environmental policies largely fall under EU environmental legislation.
With respect to air pollution and climate change, Italy is pushing initiatives designed to reduce black carbon emissions, particularly in the transportation sector. Through the Sustainable Mobility Fund, Italy has co-funded nearly 190 projects at a total cost of 195 million Euros. In the last two decades, Italy has decreased the emissions consistently.
Separate waste collection is used for the effective recycling; in 2013, the waste generation has also decreased on average. However, a 2013 report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), recommends that Italy’s “water management needs a long term vision, consistent implementation and better governance.” It also reports that Italy is currently looking to push forward with a number of water conservation initiatives, including the evolution of the legal and institutional framework, reforming the water supply systems and improving water sanitation systems.
A bird's eye view of nearby Venice showing significant accumulations of industrial fog in the air. Image credit: Elena Dijours/shutterstock.com
As it recovers from the still-recent global economic collapse, Italy will be looking to incorporate green initiatives into its economic policies, according to the OECD report. These measures are expected to include: “greening” the tax code, (where a smaller share of taxation revenue from income tax and a larger share of revenue from taxes on polluting activities is received) expanding environment-related markets and green trade policies, promoting eco-innovation and investing in green technology.
Italy is also looking to make an impact on the larger European stage with respect to environmental policies. Under the country’s six-month term as President of the European Commission, Italy pushed for higher recycling targets and progress toward the complete elimination of EU landfills, green job growth and the tighter control of emissions from medium-sized combustion plants.
Clean Technology in Italy
Through its recent policies and financial incentives, Italy has made a major push toward embracing solar energy technology.
Italy has impressive growth in the renewable energy sector. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Agostino Re Rebaudengo, Chairman of the Italian renewable energy association assoRinnovabili, said his country’s green energy incentive scheme has been highly successful and led to cost of photovoltaic systems being reduced by 72 percent from 2008 to 2013.
A set of solar panels in the crater of Lipari Island, Italy. Image Credits: imagesef/shutterstock.com
The organization chairman added that the policies are beginning to bridge the gap between Italy’s import-based energy industry today and a sustainable renewable energy industry in the future.
A Clean Future for Italy?
While current economic factors will have a major influence on how clean technology will progress in Italy, the International Energy Agency’s most recent report on the country made three primary recommendations.
First, the IEA report said Italy should develop a national energy sector consistent with the modern energy market. The IEA report also said Italy needs to continue identifying and addressing deficiencies in its energy infrastructure. Finally, the IEA report said Italy needs to make a major push in trying to fulfil its EU 2020 climate change responsibilities.
Sources and Further Reading
- Italy Facts - National Geographic
- Air quality: Commission urges Italy to take action against small particulate matter (PM10) to safeguard public health (European Commission 2017)
- European Environment Agency - Air quality standards
- Health Impact Assessment of Air Pollution in Italian Cities - World Health Organization (WHO)
- Rome Water Pollution Sparks Public Ban - The Local it
- Environment: European Commission Urges Italy to Address Severe Pollution Issues at Europe's Biggest Steel Plant - European Commission
- Keeping our water clean: the case of water contamination in the Veneto Region, Italy (2017)
- Italy - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
- OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Italy 2013 - OECD
- Top 5 Environment – All you need to know for the Italian EU Presidency - viEUws
This article was updated on the 7th July, 2018.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.
Despite recent progress, Italy still faces important environmental challenges, such as climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, urban air quality, waste management, ground water pollution, groundwater over-exploitation, and hydro-geological instability.What is Italy doing to stop pollution? ›
Italy is actively promoting initiatives to reduce black carbon emissions from the transport sector, such as low impact fuels, use of ecological vehicles for distribution of goods and implementation of services and infrastructures for the public transport.What are the main issues regarding technology and the environment? ›
Pollution - Air, water, heat and noise pollution can all be caused by producing and using technology. Consuming resources - Non-renewable resources, including precious metals like gold, are used to make technology. Many others, such as coal, are consumed to generate the electricity to use technology.How is Italy environmentally friendly? ›
Through stronger environmental legislation and policies as well as a framework for managing traditional pollutants, Italy has reduced air and river pollution, better managed waste and enhanced protection of biodiversity.How does Italy prevent climate change? ›
Italy's most used sources of energy are petroleum products such as petrol, and natural gas. Due to climate change, Italy has been increasing efforts to produce and consume more renewable or "green" energy to reduce their carbon emissions.
Italy is notoriously prone to natural hazards and climate change is expected to increase the Italian vulnerability to climate-related hazards over the next decades. This, combined with the economic, social and environmental pressures, makes Italy one of the most vulnerable country in Europe.How does Italy deal with waste? ›
Waste management in Italy is managed at a municipal level in accordance with national legislation and differs widely from area to area. Typically, rubbish is collected by a waste disposal company contracted to the comune (municipal authority).How does Italy deal with plastic pollution? ›
Italy has already implemented some pioneering policies to reduce plastic use and collect sorted waste, including bans on micro plastics, an effective four stream waste collection system and eco modulated producer contributions to encourage upstream innovation.How clean is the air in Italy? ›
During 2019, according to figures published by IQAir.com, the average level of air pollution in Italy was 61 USAQI which placed it in the “Moderate “class and ranked it in position 59 out ofa total of 98 countries. The concentration of the pollutant PM2.How can technology help with environmental issues? ›
Some of the most recognized and important eco-friendly tech advancements in recent years have been in the clean energy sector. Renewable sources of energy like solar, wind and hydroelectric power have become much more widespread, as well as cheaper. And this sector is expected to continue to grow at a staggering rate.
More people using digital devices for communicating and storing information means that there is less reliance on paper, which reduces deforestation. Since trees are an important source of oxygen and also absorb carbon dioxide, this further reduces climate change.How can we solve environmental issues? ›
Recycle (& then recycle properly) Implementing recycling habits into your daily life is one of the most effective ways to help lessen landfill waste, conserve natural resources, save habitats, reduce pollution, cut down on energy consumption, and slow down global warming.Does Italy have good sanitation? ›
Water supply and sanitation in Italy.
|Italy: Water and sanitation|
|Average urban water use (liter/capita/day)||241 (2012), according to ISTAT|
In Italy, PM2. 5 has gone from an average of 19.3 µg/m³ to 19.4 µg/m³ in recent years, and more and moreregions are experiencing very high levels of pollution.What is Italy doing about pollution and greenhouse gas emissions? ›
MILAN (Reuters) - Italy plans to cut its carbon emissions by around 60% by 2030 after using 80 billion euros ($96 billion) of EU funds for energy transition in the next five years, Ecology Minister Roberto Cingolani said.Is Italy a safe place to be in right now? ›
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Italy due to COVID-19, indicating a high level of COVID-19 in the country and advising Americans to “avoid travel to Italy” if you are not up to date with COVID-19 vaccines.
Declining tourism demand is the main driver of negative effects on GDP, as Italy would become less attractive as a tourist destination. By the end of the century, however, Italy would also experience severe losses in agricultural production, due to increased temperature and reduced water availability.Does Italy have good climate? ›
Italy has a predominantly Mediterranean climate with mild, sometimes rainy winters and sunny, hot, and usually dry summers.Is Italy good at recycling? ›
Italy is the European country that recycles the most waste, according to the European Commission's Report on economic, social, and territorial cohesion. The Report was published in December 2021. Italy recycles 79% of the waste it collects, slightly above Belgium, which reaches 77%.Do people recycle in Italy? ›
In Italy, recycling is required by law and not complying may result in fines. Additionally, bringing waste on base for disposal is against the law. Every community in the local area has an ecological platform or community dump. The rules vary by community, but they exist to help dispose of bulk items.
Just over 30% of plastic waste in Italy is sent for recycling and bioplastics account for almost 6% of the market (in terms of production).How do they recycle in Italy? ›
Each type of trash and recycling goes into its own color-coded bag and then into the designated bin at a roadside pick-up location. You pick up the bags at the comune offices: blue bags for plastic and metal cans, brown for paper and cardboard, white for organic waste (“umido”) and yellow for all other garbage.Is plastic banned in Italy? ›
The country becomes the first in Europe with a nationwide prohibition against plastic bags. ROME - On Jan.Does Italy recycle plastic? ›
The recycling rate of plastic packaging in Italy was 49 percent in 2020. Recycling rates in Italy have been slowly increasing since 2013, when the recycling rate was 37 percent.Why is air quality poor in Italy? ›
These areas are prone to pollution thanks to their industrial centres and geographical locations, where wind levels are low and where air pollution tends to concentrate. This type of dirty air can have grave effects, as PM2. 5 was responsible for some 52,000 premature deaths in Italy in 2018, according to the EEA.Is there water pollution in Italy? ›
Water pollution is another important environmental issue in Italy. The nation's rivers and coasts have been polluted by industrial and agricultural contaminants and its lakes contaminated by acid rain.Is Italy water polluted? ›
Goletta Verde's team of scientists analyzed more than 300 samples of water from along Italy's coastline and found that 39 percent were “heavily polluted,” while a further 9 percent also showed signs of substantial pollution.What type of technology helps the environment? ›
Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain, IoT, geo-spatial mapping are powering the fifth industrial revolution and have the potential to help us solve our climate goals. These technologies are poweringorganizations to solve traditional problems.What are some examples of environmental technology give at least 5? ›
- Wastewater treatment. ...
- Elimination of industrial emissions. ...
- Recycling and waste management. ...
- Self-sufficient buildings. ...
- Waste-to-Energy. ...
- Generation of energy from the waves. ...
- Vehicles that do not emit gases. ...
- Harnessing solar energy.
Put simply, environmental technologies aim to protect the environment. They offer ways of consuming which are less polluting or do so in a sustainable manner, and often provide new ways to avoid depletion of natural resources altogether.
Modern technology has paved the way for multi-functional devices like the smartwatch and the smartphone. Computers are increasingly faster, more portable, and higher-powered than ever before. With all of these revolutions, technology has also made our lives easier, faster, better, and more fun.Can technology solve all environmental problems? ›
Jacqueline McGlade describes the report as a very powerful consensus about the current unsustainable direction of many of our ecosystems: 'In contradiction to what environmental sceptics often say, this report definitely confirms, that technology alone will not solve all problems.Why are environmental issues important? ›
The environment is an important issue even when society is faced with economic crises, wars, and unending social problems. It matters because Earth is the only home that humans have, and it provides air, food, and other needs.How can we protect our environment from pollution essay? ›
For this, there must be control of landslides, floods, and soil erosion. Furthermore, there should also be afforestation and tree plantation to conserve the soil. Also, terrace farming and using natural fertilizers are some more ways. Waste management is a powerful way of protecting the environment.What percentage of Italy has clean water? ›
Italy clean water access for 2020 was 95.82%, a 0% increase from 2019.How much waste is recycled in Italy? ›
The recycling rate of municipal waste in Italy was 51.3 percent in 2019. This is the highest rate of recycling the country has reported, and a considerable increase from the 31 percent recycling rate reported in 2010.How much waste is in Italy? ›
Municipal waste produced in Italy in 2019 amounted to about 30 million tons, a slight decrease compared to 2018 by 0.3% (-80 thousand tons).Does Italy have a pollution problem? ›
In Italy, PM2. 5 has gone from an average of 19.3 µg/m³ to 19.4 µg/m³ in recent years, and more and moreregions are experiencing very high levels of pollution.What is causing poor air quality in Italy? ›
The PM10 pollution in Italy is predominantly caused by emissions from energy and heating, transport, industry and agriculture.Why is there poor air quality in Italy? ›
These areas are prone to pollution thanks to their industrial centres and geographical locations, where wind levels are low and where air pollution tends to concentrate. This type of dirty air can have grave effects, as PM2. 5 was responsible for some 52,000 premature deaths in Italy in 2018, according to the EEA.
During 2019, according to figures published by IQAir.com, the average level of air pollution in Italy was 61 USAQI which placed it in the “Moderate “class and ranked it in position 59 out ofa total of 98 countries. The concentration of the pollutant PM2. 5 was 17.09 µg/m³in 2019 and 14.95 µg/m³ the year earlier.How clean is the air in Italy? ›
During 2019, according to figures published by IQAir.com, the average level of air pollution in Italy was 61 USAQI which placed it in the “Moderate “class and ranked it in position 59 out ofa total of 98 countries. The concentration of the pollutant PM2.Does Italy have clean air? ›
You might not equate smog with Italy, but the country's north often has air pollution levels that are considered 'moderately unsafe' by the WHO, though actually represent some of Europe's most dangerous.How is waste managed in Italy? ›
One of Italy's largest waste-to-energy plants uses our flue gas treatment solution. In Europe, thanks to stringent regulation, the majority of our garbage is disposed of in waste-to-energy (WtE) plants, where it's incinerated to produce energy instead of ending up in landfills.Is there water pollution in Italy? ›
Water pollution is another important environmental issue in Italy. The nation's rivers and coasts have been polluted by industrial and agricultural contaminants and its lakes contaminated by acid rain.What are the cleanest cities in Italy? ›
The northern city of Trento has been named the greenest place in Italy this year in the environmental survery, which aims to monitor how environmental factors affect quality of life around the country.Is Italy the most polluted country in Europe? ›
Turkey is the most polluted country in Europe with an overall score of 6.1/10.What city in Italy is threatened by pollution? ›
Northern cities including Brescia, Lodi, Monza and Venice topped the pollution chart as Italy's environmental agency warned of a pollution "red alert".Which country has the cleanest air in the world? ›
The cleanest air was found in the South Pacific island nation of New Caledonia (3.8), while Finland had the lowest PM2. 5 concentrations among developed nations (5.5).Where is the cleanest air in the country? ›
Hawaii has, on average, the cleanest air in the USA overall. It has an AQI value of 21.2, which is in the healthy range set by the EPA. The American Lung Association ranks two cities in Hawaii in the top 25 cleanest US cities for year-round particle pollution.
Italy has already implemented some pioneering policies to reduce plastic use and collect sorted waste, including bans on micro plastics, an effective four stream waste collection system and eco modulated producer contributions to encourage upstream innovation.