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(en) Italy, Sicilia Libertaria: Punta Izzo (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Thu, 30 May 2024 08:07:26 +0300

Punta Izzo, the project for the reclamation of the shooting range has been approved ---- But the limits of pollutants are those (much higher) of the industrial areas ---- The mobilization of citizens and associations moves the institutions and produces results. After almost a decade of complaints and 27 years after the last live fire exercises, the reclamation project for the Punta Izzo military range has finally been approved. But that's only minimally good news; because, as expected, the reclamation will concern limited portions of the closed polygon (for a surface area of 560 m2 out of a total of 1800 m2). However, no environmental investigation has been planned externally, i.e. in the remaining coastal and marine area of Punta Sant'Elia where for at least twenty years there has been shooting "in the open" and without any containment barrier.

Furthermore, and this is the most worrying fact, those areas of the range whose contamination levels are within the legal limits prescribed for industrial areas will be excluded from the cleanup. However, these limits are far higher than those that apply to green areas. To give an example, in green areas the threshold for lead is 100 mg/kg, compared to a threshold of 1000 mg/kg for industrial areas, ten times higher. While for the sum of polycyclic aromatic compounds, the threshold allowed in industrial areas is even 100 times higher than that in green areas (1 mg/kg versus 100 mg/kg).

Punta Izzo, in short, is treated as if it were the land of a factory, where the quantity of dangerous substances tolerated is by law incompatible with the public use of a natural park. If the thresholds prescribed for green areas had been taken as a reference, the environmental analyzes carried out in 2017 by the soldiers of the Joint Technical Logistics Center of Civitavecchia would have highlighted, in addition to the large presence of lead and copper, cobalt contamination, selenium, vanadium, zinc and diphenylamine. The latter in particular, used as an additive in ammunition, was found to be excessive in 10 of the 14 sampling points carried out, and in quantities up to 10 times higher than the limit (1.04 mg/kg compared to a threshold of 0.1 mg/kg).

As is known, it was the "Protected Environment" decree (never a less apt name) in 2014 that equated industrial areas and military zones for the purposes of reclamation. But Punta Izzo, whose conversion to civil uses has been requested for years , it remains a military zone only on paper. In fact, for at least 30 years, no military exercises have been carried out in the coastal area. And while the civic request for demilitarization is officially firmly denied, Marisicilia allows guided tours and excursions promoted by associations and enthusiasts of war deeds.

For these reasons, and with a view to returning Punta Izzo to free use as an eco-cultural park, the reclamation should be carried out according to the contamination thresholds envisaged for green areas, extending environmental investigations to all spaces, terrestrial and marine, used for more than half a century for live fire exercises. Otherwise, the damage would be followed by insult: the burden of reclaiming the future park would fall on the Region or the Municipality of Augusta, following the hoped-for demilitarization.

Unfortunately none of these objections were raised by the municipal administration in the service conferences. Indeed, the Municipality of Augusta was among those absent at the last decisive conference on 19 July 2023 which gave the green light to the reclamation project presented by Marisicilia. The environmental associations Natura Sicula and Punta Izzo Possibile were excluded from this conference, although they had expressly requested participation.

In the coming weeks, as done for past governments since 2017, we will send a request to the Minister of Defense Crosetto aimed at finding out the executive's plans regarding the future use of Punta Izzo. Given the times, we have no illusions. Once the reclamation and environmental monitoring have been completed, the risk is that the project for the new shooting range will become relevant again. Together with our opposition.

Punta Izzo Coordination Possible

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