'Hire Roma people to sort out rubbish': Councillor

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Rubbish collection in Rome's Campo de' Fiori. Rome photo: Shutterstock
13:08 CET+01:00
A Rome councillor has proposed giving members of the city's Roma community jobs sorting out rubbish, because of their "skills in rummaging through waste". The idea has been met with fierce criticism at city hall.

Francesca Danese, councillor for social policies, made the suggestion while visiting a Roma camp last week.

The idea of employing members of the community in the city’s waste disposal system was seen as a way of providing jobs.

There are few opportunities for the 5,000 residents of the Roma camps, the majority of which are far from the city centre and lack nearby access to public transport. Working in waste disposal is therefore seen as a stepping-stone to other employment projects.

“It’s useless to pretend that the problem doesn’t exist,” Danese told Adnkronos.

“I’m looking for a solution, a way of leaving the system of camps, which cost a lot and don’t resolve the situation of degradation,” she added, citing the poor conditions families live in in the Roma camps.

“Finding a solution is a political responsibility. A lot of these people rummage through rubbish and find materials, they have become skillful,” Danese said. The councillor was not immediately available to discuss the plans when contacted by The Local.

But her proposal has been strongly criticized by the political right. Pietro Di Paolo, head of the New Centre-Right (NCD) party in Lazio, described the plan as a “bizarre idea” and accused Danese of wanting to “legalize bin-diving”.

Giordano Tredicine, a Forza Italia councillor, said he hoped the proposal was a “prank”, while Federico Rocca from the far-right Brothers of Italy (Fratelli-d’Italia) said the measure was “absurd” and “irresponsible”.

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Stefano Pedica, from Mayor Ignazio Marino’s left-wing Democratic Party (PD), also voiced his opposition to the plan.

“To say that there’s a need to use nomads [the Roma community] for recycling is to show a lack of understanding of how to run a city respecting the rules,” he was quoted by Adnkronos as saying. 

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