De Magistris: Dealing with environmental crime is difficult, both as magistrate and as mayor

Interview with Naples Mayor and former public prosecutor by Pavel Antonov at the Greenaccord International Media Forum in Naples, November 2013.

Is it useful for a magistrate to enter politics?
My experience as a magistrate was fundamental for the choices I have made as a mayor. I was a magistrate for 11 years and I have always dealt with environmental crimes. I had the chance in my previous job to understand how organized crime in participation with sections of politics and business managed illegally the waste industry. Politicians have a simple way to prevent infiltrations from the Mafia. By not allowing criminal business and so choosing environmental political way of not making landfills, incinerators – which are big corporate works that attract money with risk of infiltration, and environmental policies that start from below and involve the people. Better spread on the territory.

But do you feel you are doing a better job as a politician than as a magistrate?
These are two different jobs. Every time I have to deal with environmental crimes I have always met obstacles – both as a magistrate and as a mayor.

What is your response to the toxic waste crisis in Naples and Italy?
This is a phenomenon that unfortunately happens all over the country. Environmental pollution exists but we have to be careful of generalizing. We need to have a precise characterization of the places that are polluted and require the government to step in the specifics. And we must remember that in Italy there are also vast areas that are very clean and are cultivated with modern green methods. There are farmers that are up to date (with technology).  Even after we have purified the land we need to be careful about Mafia infiltrations- they might take advantage. This is why I do not like to call it an emergency – because when you use the word emergency there is an overload of attention by both politicians, but also criminals, who right away are prepared to take advantage.

What is your specific strategy in solving these issues?
Unfortunately I am not a magistrate anymore because Italy is not a normal country. It is upside down, I can tell you another time, it is a long story. My strategy is not only to keep away the traditional Mafia but also those institutional and political infiltrations that back their influence. Another strategy is to confront the problems of today but also set goals in the future for a definitive solution. In fact we have approved of Paul Connetti’s Zero Waste 2020 Protocol of San Francisco.


This interview was originally published in Bulgarian by Capital  on 10.01.2014 at "Битката с екопрестъпността е тежка и като политик, и като магистрат."

More about toxic waste disposal by Mafia - Octopus's Poisoned Gardens, story by Pavel Antonov at the Greenaccord's International Media Forum in Naples, November 2014