If you only visit the sights, you may not notice them often. But it has been a nuisance to the people of Rome for years: the streets are littered with rubbish. In almost all neighborhoods, overflowing waste containers spread the foul odor and attract insects. Italian media calls it a “state of emergency”.
The reason why Roberto Gualtieri, mayor of the Eternal City since last month, is making the problem his top priority. The left-wing politician has set aside forty million for a one-off clean-up campaign, in which he wants to make Rome beautiful again before Christmas. But many residents are skeptical.
Street by street, neighborhood after neighborhood
“We will start from this roundabout, and then continue along Via Trionville in the direction of the hospital,” the team leader instructs about twenty employees of the garbage collection service. With leaf blowers and brooms, they’re ready to clean sidewalks from 11 a.m. to 6 a.m.: street by street, neighborhood after neighborhood. And that’s almost every night until the end of December.
“Tonight we are removing the small debris and leaves that are clogging sewers and flooding the streets,” explains the team leader. “During the day, other teams empty the containers and remove the piles of garbage bags around them.”
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