The northern city of Trento has been named the greenest place in Italy this year in the environmental survery, which aims to monitor how environmental factors affect quality of life around the country.
The survey, carried out annually by Italian environmental agencies Legambiente and Ambiente Italia in partnership with the Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper, looks at the quality of air, water, waste management and transport services across 104 Italian cities and provincial capitals.
“Mantua, top last year, hands the sceptre to Trento that comes top for the first time thanks to its improvement in air quality, in the use of public transport and attention to cycling mobility,” the survey's authors wrote.
The top five was dominated by northern Italian cities, with Trento followed by Mantua, Bolzano, Pordenone and Parma.
The results were presented in Mantua on Monday by the heads of the environmental agencies, who said that while the results showed some progress in many areas “overall the results show too many problems.”
Many of Italy's big cities scored poorly and ranked near the bottom of the table, dragged down by traffic, trash and water woes, the survey said.
Palermo was 100th, while Rome and Naples took joint 89th place in the ranking – mainly because of issues with waste management in all the cities, Legambiente noted.
Overflowing rubbish bins in Rome in January 2019. Photo: AFP
Turin, which has problems with smog, was 88th and Bari came 87th, mainly because of air and water pollution.
The very worst score went to Catania, while there was no data available for Siracusa and Vibo Valentia as researchers said the municipal authorities had failed to provide information for the survey.
Legambiente noted that exceptions included some big cities like Bologna. and southern municipalities like Cosenza, as well as towns with lower gross domestic product (GDP) like Oristano.
The agency said this showed “good urban ecosystems” can be achieved by any town which “spends its resources well, evolves and plans future transformations.”
“In Italy, the policies affecting urban centres are broken up between different ministries, with a great waste of scarce resources, and poor results,” Legambiente president Stefano Ciafani stated
The survey revealed a large disparity between the problems faced in different areas, as well as the policies put in place by municipalities.
However one thing most places had in common was a problem with heavy traffic.
The survey noted that Italy's “traffic emergency” affects “more or less all of the large urban centres of Italy… aggravated in Rome's case by a public transport service that seems condemned to a never-ending crisis.”
The survey said the environment was “a particularly important issue at this historic moment”, as the government has pledged to make its so-called “Green New Deal” a priority.
Italy has repeatedly been reprimanded by the European Union for exceeding the bloc's recommended limits on air pollution.
Turin, Milan and Naples are the worst cities in the EU for dangerous particulate pollution, while Italy has the bloc's highest number of premature deaths from nitrogen dioxide fumes spewed out by diesel vehicles, according to the European Environment Agency.