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ILVA: Working and Dying  in Taranto 

Taranto is a city in the south of Italy with 200000 inhabitants. ILVA is the largest steel factory in Europe with about 9 millions of tons of steel produced per year and which employs 13000 people, which become 20000 the the induced activities. It was founded in 1965 by the Italian State and then bought in 1995 by the Riva family. It is few meters away from the closest houses. It is a whole neighborhood, called "I Tamburi" which is all along the perimeter of the factory. The factory is as large as the 14% of the surface of a city like Paris.


The factory is extremely polluting and it has never been modernized: it disperses in the air the 9% of the dioxin produced in Europe; from the open air coal and iron depots micro-powders, red and black, rise, invade the city, set down everywhere, are breathed by the people.


Epidemiological advices ordered by the justice have shown that all along the last seven years, several tens of people per year died, in the Tamburi neighborhood, because of the pollution from the factory; such a huge number rises to several hundreds for the entire city.

These deaths are mainly du to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and cancer, whose incidence among kids is particularly high. A regional decree forbids all sheep farming activity in a 20 km range, as well as a local decree forbids to children and their parents to stay and play in the public garden in the Tamburi neighborhood.

End of July 2012, the Justice seized the factory and ordered the closure. Since, all this set off a very strong social conflict with the workers from one side, who live in a territory not offering any other alternative and who want to defend their employment (supported by the factory's owner), and on the other side, the citizens who ask for the closure.

Italian Government looks for a compromise, since not only ILVA employs somehow 20000 persons, but also because the factory provides the 40% of the steel used by the italian industry. Besides, by means of telephonic hearings the Justice has discovered that bribes would have been paid in order to silence some journalists as well as to falsify some chemical examinations on the air and water quality. Nowadays, Taranto is considered as the most polluted city in Europe.