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Environmental statistics are subject to growing attention, especially following European strategies which appear increasingly aimed at integrating the environmental, social and economic dimensions of policies, at strengthening environmental legislation in the Member States and at requiring greater efforts to protect the environment. The proposed indicators are a useful tool for outlining the state of the art and monitoring the efforts of Public Administrations to protect the environment and improve the citizens' quality of life.
In 2018, the municipal waste produced amounted to 30.2 million tonnes and production per capita was 499.2 kg per inhabitant (+2.2% compared to 2017). This increase was in contrast to the mainly decreasing trend of the previous decade (except in 2014 and 2016) and to the policies aimed at the prevention and reduction of waste and its environmental impact.
According to the Directive 1999/31 / EC, which aims at safeguarding the environment and human health, it is necessary to always make
the fraction of waste delivered to the landfill more residual. Moreover, the new EU directive 2018/850 on landfills (Circular Economy package) that all EU countries will have to adopt by the 5th of July 2020, provides that by 2035, the disposal of municipal waste in the landfill does not exceed 10%. In 2018, in Italy, municipal waste disposed of in landfills amounted to 6.5 million tons and represented 21.5% of the total waste produced: 1.9 percentage points less than 2017.
Separate collection reached 17.5 million tonnes, which account for 58.1% of municipal waste produced; the share increased of 2.6 percentage points compared to 2017. Despite the increasingly rapid growth, the target of 65% had not yet been reached, a goal that should have been achieved by 2012 according to the Legislative Decree. no 152/2006.
Between 1990 and 2017 Italy reduced total greenhouse gas emissions by 17.4%, going from 518 million tonnes of Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) to 428 million tonnes. 80.9% of these reductions were attributable to the energy sector, 7.7% to industrial processes, 7.2% to the agricultural sector and 4.2% to the waste sector. In 2017, even against the increase in GDP (+1.7%), greenhouse gas emissions continued to decline (-1.0%) and in 2018 the estimates for the future showed a further decline (-1.0%). In the 1990-2017 period, although there had been a population increase of 6.7%, emissions per capita decreased by 22.6%. In particular, during the same period, the carbon dioxide emissions, the main greenhouse gas, decreased by 20.6%, from 439 to 348 million tonnes of Carbon dioxide equivalent.
However, air pollution continued to be one of the main environmental problems, especially in urban areas. In 2019, 37.7% of families perceived polluted air in the area where they lived, while almost a fifth of families reported the presence of unpleasant odours.
In 2015, against the 375 litres of water per inhabitant per day introduced into the municipal drinking water distribution networks, only 220 litres could be supplied to the population every day (21 litres less than in 2012), for a corresponding total water loss in distribution equal to 41.4%, an increase compared to 2012 (37.4%). Overall, there were 3,306 distribution network operators.
In 2018, the bathing areas in Italy, consisting of marine-coastal, transitional and internal waters continued to record a slight but progressive increase, reaching a total of 5,539 sites. 90% of them met the most stringent quality standards, and this allowed them to be classified as sites with bathing waters of excellent quality. 1.6% of bathing sites were still classified as poor quality sites, and therefore were not in line with EU standards.
In 2018, the three Regions with the highest annual production of municipal waste per capita were Emilia-Romagna (661.0 kg), Toscana (611.8 kg) and Valle d'Aosta/Vallée d'Aoste (596.0 kg); while those with a lower per capita production were: Calabria (402.4 kg), Molise (379.1 kg) and Basilicata (353.0 kg). In all regions, municipal waste increased compared to 2017, with the exception of Molise, Sicilia and Marche, where there was a slight reduction in its production. In terms of municipal waste management, the regional shares of landfill disposal represent an interesting indicator. In 2018, the shares were minimal in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano/Bozen, Campania and Lombardia, with percentages below 5%. The highest regional landfill disposal shares were in Calabria (52.4%), Sicilia (69.1%) and Molise (101.8%). However, it should be considered that the data on regional waste management are influenced by extra-regional flows, since waste produced in one region can also be disposed of in other regions.
In 2018, the percentage of separate collection of municipal waste increased in all regions except Campania (-0.1 percentage points compared to 2017). There were seven Regions that exceeded the target of 65.5 percent provided by the EU for 2012: the autonomous Province of Trento (75.5%), Veneto (73.8%), Lombardia (70.7%), the autonomous Province of Bolzano/Bozen (69.3%), Marche (68.6%), Emilia-Romagna (67.3%), Sardegna (67.0%) and Friuli-Venezia Giulia (66.6%). A total of 41.2% of the national population resided there.
It should be noted that the most significant increase in the percentage of separate collection was in the South and Islands, which reduced the gap, that was still substantial, with respect to the North. In particular, the least virtuous regions were Sicilia (29.5%) and Molise (38.4%), which, despite having achieved an increase in the separate collection of almost eight percentage points in 2018, were still far from the national target.
In 2015, Puglia and Friuli-Venezia Giulia were the regions with the highest value of per capita greenhouse gas emissions (9 tonnes of CO2 per inhabitant), while Campania showed the lowest value (3.4 tonnes). Among the subdivisions, those of the North had the most consistent emissions (North-East 8.3 and North-West 7.6 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per inhabitant), while the values were of 7 tonnes in the South and Islands and to 6.4 tonnes in the Centre, where Umbria was close to 8 tonnes.The regions of the South and Islands with the lowest per capita emissions were Campania (3.4 tonnes) and Abruzzo (5.4 tonnes). Almost all regions showed a tendency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, compared to 1990, the regions with the most marked reductions were: Liguria, with a decrease of 59.1%, Valle d’Aosta/Vallée d’Aosta, Veneto and Toscana with reductions close to 33%. The only regions showing an increase in emissions, compared to 1990, were Molise and Basilicata, with increases of 64.0% and 60.5% respectively.Families in the North-West, particularly those living in Lombardia, perceived more the presence of air pollution in the area where they lived (44.5%), while the problem of unpleasant odours was complained mainly by families living in Campania, Lazio and Calabria.
In 2015, the supply of drinking water was heterogeneous on the Italian territory. In the North-West distribution, the largest volume was recorded (264 litres per inhabitant per day), with a strong regional variability of the indicator ranging from 235 litres per inhabitant per day in Piemonte to 454 litres in the Valle d’Aosta/Vallée d’Aoste (region with the highest value). Residents of the insular regions received, on average, the lowest volume of daily water per capita (188 litres), but the lowest values were observed in Umbria (166 litres) and Puglia (155 litres).In 2018, the largest concentration of bathing areas was found in the South and Islands of Italy, which held 60% of the total sites and also had the largest increase of the number of sites of excellent quality in absolute terms. The highest percentage of bathing waters of excellent quality was found in Trentino-Alto Adige/Sudtirol and Umbria (value for both equal to 100.0%), followed by Puglia (98.8%), Veneto (98.3%) and Sardegna (97.9%).
In 2018, the production of municipal waste in the EU was 250.3 million tonnes (+0.4% compared to 2017). The collection increased, compared to 2017, in 15 member countries, including Italy, while it decreased in Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Latvia, Hungary, Romania and Sweden. Production per capita in the EU was 488 kg per capita. Italy ranked slightly above the European average, with 499 kg per inhabitant per year, at the 15th place in the growing ranking.The amount of municipal waste disposed of in landfills in the EU continued to decrease (-1.5% compared to 2017). However, the situation remained diverse; among the most “virtuous” Countries there were: Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands; Italy also still had a lower value (107 kg per inhabitant) than the European average (112 kg). By 2020, as required by Directive 2008/98/EC, all EU countries will have to achieve 50% of the reuse and recycling of municipal waste. In 2018, the average rate of municipal waste recycling in the EU was 47%, 0.8 percentage points higher than in 2017. There were eight member countries with rates above the European average, including Italy with 49.8%.The EU directive 2018/851 set new objectives to be achieved, setting new targets for the preparation for the reuse and recycling of municipal waste: 55% by 2025, 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035.As regards greenhouse gas emissions, between 1990 and 2017 there was a 23.5% reduction for all EU countries. Moreover, the European Environment Agency’s estimates for the future indicated a further 2% contraction for 2018. In detail, more than half of the EU countries were in line with the goal of the 2020 climate and energy package (second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol) which provided for the cut of at least 20% of greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels, by 2020. Italy and Luxembourg have almost reached the target. The best performances in terms of emission reduction were recorded in five Eastern European countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Estonia and Slovakia), while the worst ones were in Cyprus, Portugal and Spain.The current policies of the Member States, which would lead to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030, will have to be revised to achieve the new objectives set by the 2030 framework for climate and energy which, compared to the levels of 1990, aims at a reduction of at least 40% by 2030. Moreover, in order to comply with the objective of the
Municipal waste recycling rate. Years 2010-2017 (percentage of the EU total)
Decision 406/2009 / EC (Effort Sharing Decision, ESD), the EU asked each Member State to make a further effort, assigning Italy the task of reducing emissions of the non-ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) sectors from the small-medium industry by 13% by 2020 and by 30% by 2030 compared to the 2005 levels. The first provisional data indicated that Italy’s non-ETS emissions decreased by 16.9% in 2018 (from 330 MtCO2eq to 274.7) and were in line with the 2020 target (291 MtCO2eq). Although there were no targets for ETS sectors, it is interesting to note that, from 2005 to 2017, emissions were reduced by 31.2%.In 2015 Italy was among the countries with the highest volume of drinking water actually delivered, with 220 litres per inhabitant per day compared to 172 of the EU average, and ranked fourth in the descending ranking. The maximum value of per capita drinking water distributed was recorded in Ireland (400 litres) and the minimum in Lithuania (95 litres).In 2018, the EU recorded a slight overall increase in bathing areas (1.5%) compared to the previous year. The number of bathing sites compared to 2017 (21,509 sites) increased by 322 areas (of which 278 new areas in Poland); 95.4% of the EU’s 21,831 bathing sites were monitored, and all sites met the minimum quality requirements set by the current legislation.Italy, despite the coasts being quite man-made, was the EU country with the largest number of bathing areas (5,531 sites) which represented 25.3% of the total bathing water in the EU; France (3,351 sites), Germany (2,289), Spain (2,228) and Greece (1,598) followed in the ranking. Last in the ranking was Poland (483 sites) which however doubled its bathing sites compared to 2017.In addition, in Italy the number of bathing sites with excellent status continued to grow steadily (4,987 sites) which currently represented 26.5% of excellent quality bathing sites in the entire EU. Italy ranked first, followed by France (2,640 sites), Germany (2,123 sites), Spain (1,939 sites) and Greece (1,550 sites).