Deadly Dust of Taranto

Guy Martin

The Ilva steelworks in Taranto in Southern Italy is one of Europe's largest, providing thousands of jobs. Yet for decades, it has been expelling deadly toxins into the air and water which are killing local residents. The people are up in arms.~~The town of Taranto on the heel of Italy lies in a region known for its picturesque baroque towns, stone cottages and olive groves. But this southern port city with its crumbling old town perched on an island at the entrance to a lagoon, is a dark exception; a forgotten place with a skyline dominated by smoking chimneys.~ ~The Ilva steelworks - one of the biggest in Europe - employs more than 12,000 people in Taranto and indirectly supports another 8,000 jobs, breathing life into a depressed local economy. However, the factory has long been suspected of being a major health risk and the cause of serious environmental degradation, belching a mix of minerals, metals and carcinogenic dioxins into the air, day and night.

A study in 2005 found that 8.8% of all the dioxins emitted in Europe came from the Ilva steel plant. More recent figures have put lung cancer mortalities in the area at 30% above the national average and the overall cancer death rate at 15% higher. People across the town complain of ongoing health problems that they say are directly linked to the factory emissions, while health experts continue to fight for further independent studies to be carried out.~~In the Tamburi quarter, a poor neighbourhood in the shadows of the steel plant, residents are forbidden by law to touch the soil. Their decrepit, purpose-built apartment blocks are permanently coated in red mineral dust and a fine black soot.Within a 20 kilometre exclusion zone surrounding the factory, farmers have been banned from working the land, 3000 contaminated livestock have been slaughtered and now even Taranto’s famous ‘two seas’ are choking under the pollution.~~In July 2012, the saga surrounding Italy’s largest steelworks took a dramatic turn; managers of the plant were placed under house arrest and local courts deemed the factory to be causing an environmental and public health catastrophe so severe that it should be forced to close immediately while a clean-up operation takes place. Prosecutors claimed that emissions had killed nearly 400 people in 13 years.~~But the Italian government stepped in, arguing that competition from China would step in to take up the slack from Ilva's output. Following a series of contradictory court rulings, the steelworks are still operating while a decision to either ‘clean-up’ or ‘shut down’ is still to be reached.~~As ongoing battles rumble on between politicians, local magistrates, industrial managers and trade unions, large numbers of local residents have taken to the streets for the first time, protesting at what they see as a culture of corruption and greed that has allowed the factory to operate in an irresponsible way for too long.~~Slowly, a veil of self-denial is lifting. The people affected by the Ilva steelworks can no longer be ignored.

 

Display

Guy-Martin

Select a subject

  • Group 2 (0)
    • Stories (723)

      ITALY

      Smoke and fire from one of the seven blast furnaces...

      © Guy Martin

      00163284

      ITALY

      Teams of street cleaners attempt to clean and move...

      © Guy Martin

      00163285

      ITALY

      The Tamburi district of Taranto.

      © Guy Martin

      00163254

      ITALY

      Addolorata Granio is 63 years old and has lived in...

      © Guy Martin

      00163263

      ITALY

      A run off of toxins from the Ilva steel plant goes...

      © Guy Martin

      00163255

      ITALY

      A man walks through a small inlet into the Mare...

      © Guy Martin

      00163253

      ITALY

      A mother and father pass down their son from an...

      © Guy Martin

      00163256

      ITALY

      Workers from the Ilva Steel plant drink beer and play...

      © Guy Martin

      00163258

      ITALY

      A whirlpool of freshwater is seen on the 'Mare...

      © Guy Martin

      00163279

      ITALY

      A resident of the Tamburi district sells mussels...

      © Guy Martin

      00163275

      ITALY

      Giovani, a mussel fisherman in the bay of Taranto...

      © Guy Martin

      00163273

      ITALY

      The local church in the Tamburi district was built...

      © Guy Martin

      00163274

      ITALY

      Workers from the Ilva steel plant play a game of...

      © Guy Martin

      00163260

      ITALY

      At a small reservoir and with the Ilva steel plant in...

      © Guy Martin

      00163276

      ITALY

      A man gathers small shellfish from the muddy sea bed...

      © Guy Martin

      00163281

      ITALY

      Men pull in ropes of mussles from the 'Mare Picolo'...

      © Guy Martin

      00163278

      ITALY

      The entrance to the Ilva Steel plant.

      © Guy Martin

      00163283

      ITALY

      Houses in the Tamburi district of Taranto.

      © Guy Martin

      00163280

      ITALY

      People gather on the busy and industrial sea front of...

      © Guy Martin

      00163261

      ITALY

      On a hilltop that overlooks the district of Tamburi,...

      © Guy Martin

      00163282

      ITALY

      An entrance to the former beach club on the sea front...

      © Guy Martin

      00163262

      ITALY

      The graveyard in Taranto. The graveyard is less than...

      © Guy Martin

      00163264

      ITALY

      On a hilltop that overlooks the district of Tamburi,...

      © Guy Martin

      00163265

      ITALY

      The confetti of a recent wedding in the centre of...

      © Guy Martin

      00163266

      ITALY

      A couple have their wedding photos taken along the...

      © Guy Martin

      00163267

      ITALY

      Francesco Maggi, a former worker at the Ilva steel...

      © Guy Martin

      00163268

      ITALY

      A dress dries infront of an apartment in the Tamburi...

      © Guy Martin

      00163269

      ITALY

      Children and familes play in the central park of...

      © Guy Martin

      00163270

      ITALY

      Residents of the Tamburi district and other people...

      © Guy Martin

      00163271

      ITALY

      The remains of an olive grove near the Ilva steel...

      © Guy Martin

      00163272

      ITALY

      A water-way that leads into the 'mare picolo' sea...

      © Guy Martin

      00163277

      ITALY

      Residents of the Tamburi district and other people...

      © Guy Martin

      00163257

      ITALY

      An archive photograph from a family album of the Ilva...

      © Guy Martin

      00163259

      of
      Panos Pictures  1 Honduras Street  London  EC1Y 0TH  UK |  telephone: +44 20 7253 1424 |  email: info@panos.co.uk     
      POWERED BY INFRADOX