Expo Milano 2015 is a kind of window looking out onto a new world, and one which is capable of bringing about change, and improvement
. Discussing urgently pressing issues can not only lead to learning, but also to renewal, and to developing new models of nourishment.
One part of this can certainly embrace the world of celiac sufferers and vegans, and all those who suffer from food intolerance and are in search of alternative sources of food.
Expo can become a unique experience that not only promotes and protects the Earth, womb of so many extraordinary resources, but also the human mind which over the millennia has developed the ability to create and transform food to the point where it can become a work of art.
The illegal dumping of toxic waste in the area between Naples and Caserta
The Expo context provides a profound framework of significance in which to set one of the most “burning issues” in Italy in recent years: the “Terra di Fuochi”, or Land of Fire. A territory of 1076 sq.km, where 57 towns are situated...33 in the Province of Naples and 24 in the Province of Caserta.
The area in question, where illegal toxic dumping has taken place, is precisely identifiable. In many cases, huge mounds of waste which have been illegally dumped in open countryside or beside roads, are set alight, creating extensive fires whose smoke spreads lethal substances (including dioxin) for miles around, in the soil and in the air.
High tumor rates in women and children
Huge bonfires of industrial waste have for years been a feature in the areas around Succivo, Aversa, Caivano, Acerra and Giugliano in Campania, and the result is a statistical wave of extremely high cancer rates, hitting especially young women – breast and thyroid particularly – and children. This phenomenon was denounced for the first time in 2003, in a report by the Legambiente environmental association, and was then brought to the attention of the world by Roberto Saviano in his book Gomorra, then made into a film. “The Land of Fire” became first and foremost an acutely dangerous dilemma to resolve at a regional level, and then spread to become a debate, with rebellion, proposals, ideas, and legitimate worry on the part of institutions and individuals. It has a become a geographical site which breeds fear, obstacles, acts of violence and crime, and even today the brutal habit of setting fire to toxic waste and damaging the eco-system, environment and human health.
A stage occupied by criminality and corruption
Although the area affected occupies only 1 percent of the Campania Region, today we can truthfully say that it represents a major problem in need of constant monitoring, and a huge wound to be healed. A wound which for some time will take constant treating and careful controlling in order to at least limit damage to the environment and to agriculture, food and human health. Damage that extends outside the Campania Region, to the rest of Italy and beyond. The Campania Region wishes to say “no” to pollution, to the code of silence, to the indifference which has dragged on for too many years in relation to this deadly situation. Since 2006, Legambiente’s Campania Ecomafia Report (coordinated by Peppe Ruggero) has thrown light on the situation in the “Terra dei Fuochi”, describing the degradation of the territory perpetrated by criminality and corruption.
The relation between environment and tumor rates demonstrated by science
The aspect of the whole affair which brings to mind by bitter contrast the ideals of Expo Milano 2015 is the damage to agriculture, food and human health. In recent years the illegal dumps have grown by 30 percent, as have the tumors found in the local population, which continue to rise, causing deep worry in Italy and abroad.
Another deeply committed opponent of the rape of The Land of Fire, alongside Legambiente, is Antonio Giordano. Oncologist, pathologist, researcher, university professor and writer, Antonio Giordano was born in 1962 and is the Director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine in Philadelphia, President of the Scientific Committee of the Human Health Foundation NPO, and Professor of Anatomy and Pathological Histology in the Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience and the Biomedical Technologies and Experimental Oncological Laboratory of the University of Siena.
His many research activities are driven by a mission of activism in denouncing environmental factors as causes of increased tumor rates in populations. A pupil of Nobel Prize winner James Dewey Watson, he has discovered various key factors in the regulation of cell cycles, combining his role as a researcher with that of a scientific divulgator, committed to proving and publicizing the links between environment, toxic waste and tumor increase in Campania.
An emblem of the tragic situation south of Naples is little Checco, a victim of The Land of Fire at the age of four, a focus for various committees to organize visits and protests in the area which Italy’s President described as “an emblem of degradation.” Checco is just one of many, too many, children in the Land of Fire area to be struck by tumors and lose their lives for no reason other than the misfortune of living in the “triangle of death”.
As the philosopher Feuerbach wrote “We are what we eat”, and together with Expo Milano 2015 and its mascot, Foody, we too can identify with that single face made up of eleven elements, each with different characteristics and personalities but together representing the synergy between all the countries of the world called upon to meet the challenges facing our planet.