A conference on "Packaging Waste Management" held in Palermo was attended by Environment Minister Matteoli. The meeting focused on recycling and turning solid waste into a useful resource. The conference also showcased plans by Italy's national packaging consortium CONAI devised to enacted in southern Italy. Minister Matteoli spoke of Italy's recycling performance as being three-tier: "northern Italy has achieved the 35 pc recycling target; central Italy stands at 18.3 pc; southern Italy is at a mere 8.1 pc". According to the government's set objective is a 45 pc recycling target across-the-board as of 2008, and 65 pc as of 2012. Matteoli went into detail over the situation in Sicily where "recycling has all but started. Such a situation is at odds with proposals to develop 4 incinerators". Statistics for Sicily in fact quote 5.4 pc recycling compared to the national average of 23 pc. The breakdown by province in Sicily ranks Ragusa first (8.5 pc) and Siracusa last (2.5 pc). The Palermo meeting was also attended by Confindustria vice-president Emma Marcegaglia: "public sector management of areas such as the environment, water, energy and waste management urbani - she says - is a burden on our growth. Current laws continue to favour monopolies of varying sizes and do little to ensure that local authorities - regardless of their political denomination - are not an impediment to the free market". Regional governor Salvatore Cuffaro spoke of incinerators as "vital in managing Sicily's waste. When we declared the state of emergency all we had were dumps, 85 pc of which have been shut down to date", Cuffaro said speaking of his full backing in the waste management's new administrative structure: "we have gone from 390 municipalities handling waste to 27 administrative precincts with positive fall-out in keeping mafia infiltrators out".


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