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A Strong Smell of Corruption

By Matthewdikmans (talk) (Uploads) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

It is common knowledge that waste management business is very vulnerable to corruption. In fact many criminal organizations have for a long time been involved in the garbage collection and recycling business. Yet, the complexity of public procurement contracts makes the system untransparent -from the waste collection to the landfill site- and is therefore conductive to the presence of criminal gangs. But it is above all the size of the cake which explains this unacceptable situation observed in too many countries. In Europe, just in terms of household waste alone each person per year is currently producing, on average, 500 kg of such waste (Fig.Eurostat). Italy is one of the nations most emblematic of infiltration by criminal groups into municipalities. Rome, the capital, is currently in the eye of the storm. Investigations tend to prove that organized crime syndicates often run the waste management system. But, even more seriously, it would be impossible today to keep many cities clean without the presence of these Mafias. At the same time, the first concern for the people is that sidewalks and streets are cleared and disinfected. Finally, it does not matter the name of the company which employs the street sweeper! Under these circumstances, organized crime groups still have a rosy future in this business sector. The cost of corruption in this sector can be estimated to more than €1.2 billion (Fig.Olaf 2014). And the best way to combat this scourge is to reach maximum transparency in public procurement.

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