Any illegal transaction for the transfer of wastes is a serious violation of the right to a healthy environment and, quite obviously, of the whole set of human rights, whether individual or collective, economic, social and cultural or civil and political.
It was reported in 1991 that while the annual production of toxic waste in Italy was 10 to 15 million tonnes, authorized plants could deal with just 1.2 million tonnes. Some 13 to 14 million tonnes of toxic waste were being disposed without any safeguards. Out of 70 million tonnes of all waste, estimated 50 million tonnes was being dumped clandestinely every year.
The Mafia has moved into Italy's waste disposal trade. Too much waste chasing too few disposal sites equals big money for illicit tippers, and organized crime has jumped in to exploit the chaos. Lorry convoys transport refuse hundreds of kilometres from affluent northern cities to the poorer south, where they secretly tip loads in disused or unguarded landfill sites. The Mafia controls the transport companies. Tipping is done at night, with gangsters overseeing operations from executive cars. Their profits are astronomical.