The Struggles of the Comitato Ambientale di Belladanza of Carlo Masciarri

Without the Comitato Ambientale di Belladanza (CAB), fighting the landfill today would be impossible. For two decades this group has painstakingly collected documents and evidence, held meetings, organized road blockages and challenged the political authorities who denied the citizens what they had been promised. Then, however, as Carlo Masciarri himself said at a public meeting in early November 2007, the people who had made the CAB effective and had the City Administration against the ropes at times, gradually began to drift away. The results of the CAB’s struggles did not amount to much in the end, which embittered its members. The great disappointment in the CAB came when Regional Councilman Oliviero Dottorini, upon the insistence of some of the members of the New Committee for Belladanza (which did not then exist) obtained a copy of the Sogepu plan to double the size of the landfill. Carlo Masciarri, understandably filled with anger and frustration, resigned as president of the CAB – thereby effectively destroying the structure of the organization and its ability to function. The New Committee for Belladanza urges Carlo Masciarri to seriously reconsider. The experience, passion and intelligence of the CAB must remain a resource in the struggle for the citizens of the Alto Tevere as they strive to safeguard their health and the environment in which they live.

The Frustrations with the CAB

After a massive initial commitment, interest in the actions and goals of the CAB diminished with the passage of time. We believe that we have identified the following weaknesses that contributed to its decline:

a) The increasing lack of interest on the part of the citizens created a sort of bitterness in the CAB members, and they felt themselves alone. Nonetheless, they continued to do their work even though they could not make themselves heard as loudly as before.

b) The fact that the problem of Belladanza is so complicated introduced new language to the CAB members. Twenty years ago, Carlo Masciarri and his collegues spoke like all the other inhabitants of the valley, but today thay have been obliged to learn the technical terms and to deal with the politico-speak, which has the tendency to estrange them from the rest of the people.

c) The previous two causes have resulted in the leadership of the CAB undertaking initiatives in a way that is detached from the public, in the vain hope that others would understand and become actively involved again.
But the failures of the CAB are, above all, tied to the fact that, as with everything else in Italy, Belladanza UP UNTIL NOW has been dominated by politics. This is exactly what, in our opinion, was the principal strategic weakness of the CAB: after having been involved in the preparation of the ENEA plan for the landfill (thanks to the merits of Carlo Masciarri and the other Committee members), it used only local demonstrations to fight against the betrayal of the local administration which disregarded that plan, scorned it and rendered it useless.

The New Committee believes that to win the battle of Belladanza the following will be needed:

a) support from all global environmental organizations;

b) an extensive and far-reaching media campaign on both national and international levels;

c) an unrelenting legal battle on all levels (administrative, civil and penal), that forces the law to do its duty, stopping the horror of the landfill and punishing those who are responsible for all of the illegalities committed in last the twenty years;

d) ABOVE ALL, A BROADENING OF THE BATTLE BEYOND THE RESTRICTED CONFINES OF THE ALTO TEVERE, where the local politicians act undemocratically, in secret, and convinced of their own impunity.