Commissioner Karmenu Vella

European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries


Rue de la Loi, Brussels

Brindisi, 19 November 2014

Dear Commissioner,

Brindisi is a town in the south of Italy, in the Puglia region, not far from Taranto,

headquarter of Peacelink, which you know for the presence of the ILVA steel plant.

We address this letter to you to bring to your attention the fact that in Brindisi there is a

series of large industrial plants whose effects on the population are critical and potentially

highly dangerous.

In Brindisi there are two power plants that produce with coal, the biggest of which is the

“Enel-Federico II (Cerano)”, the second one being the “Edipower”.

The Enel-Federico II (Cerano) plant has been defined by the European Agency for

Environment as one of the most polluting plants of Europe and surely one of the worst in

Italy, with a severe impact on people and a very important rate of CO2 production.

The Enel-Federico II (Cerano) plant produces 2400 million watts of energy per year,

burning approximately 7 million tons of coal per year as well. The EAA highlights, in a

study, that the thermoelectric plant of Cerano represents a real danger for health, in light of

the polluting agents that a coal burning plant emits: thin particulate such as Pm10 and

Pm2.5, benzo(a)pyrene, dioxins and natural radioactive isotopes. Particularly dangerous are

heavy metals such as mercury, nickel, lead, arsenic and cadmium, responsible for a series of

carcinogenic diseases.

In this link, a study of the International Society of Doctors for the Environment, ISDE,

underlines the link between coal burning plants and cancer.


Brindisi is home also to other plants, “Versalys ENI”, “Basell Brindisi” and “Chemgas”,

located within the so-called petrochemical pole, not far from the “ENIPower” gas power

plant and the “Edipower” coal power plant. The concentration of potentially polluting

sources, extremely dense, includes as well the pharmaceutical chemistry industry “Sanofi

Aventis” and a storage base for LPG, “Luggage Coastal Adriatic”, just to name a few.

This industrial load of Brindisi is unbearable and incomprehensible for one city, where

another critical element is represented by the huge landfill of “Micorosa”, an area of 1.5

million cube meters of toxic muds coming out of the production of the Petrochemical area

plants and being buried over a surface of 44 hectares.

This area has become a dumping ground for hazardous industrial waste and highly toxic

chemicals, where half million cubic meters of waste of all sort lie up to five meters deep.

In the underwater of Micorosa, important quantities of polluting agents have been found:

vinyl chloride in a quantity of 7.7 millions times over the limit; 1.1 dychloretylene 198

million times over the limit; benzene 50.000 times over the limit, dioxin more than 40 over

the limit.

The threat represented by the chemical pole consists also in the emergency torches of the

Versalis ENI plant, that have been burning for several years with an important frequency,

emitting into the air tongues of fire dozens of meters high and a dense black smoke. The

Versalis ENI torches were put under sequestration in 2010, during an investigation

conducted by the Tribunal of Brindisi, which led to 4 formal notices of investigation to

several top managers of the company Polymers Europe (which in the meantime has become

Versalis-ENI) and Basell.

The sequestration was suspended few months after, and the plant started to produce again

using burning torches. Since then, the darting flames keep on emitting SO2, benzene and


Brindisi is a bomb. All sort of polluting agent can be found in its environment and impacts

on population are extremely important, as reported in the “BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth

Report” on neonatal malformations of children born from mothers who live in Brindisi.

( Many cases of cancer in different

workers of the plants were referred to the competent national authorities, but found so far no


Brindisi has been included since 1986 in area for high environmental pollution and it is part

of the SIN (sites of national interest): the area of Cerano, where the ENEL-Federico II

power plant is located, and of Micorosa landfill cannot be used for agriculture but a real

study of cancer cases per area and of soil, underwater and air is missing! The relevant

analysis have never been realised nor screening on the population has been conducted, even

if the high pollution and its evidence are obvious.

We believe that the European Commission should investigate in the situation of Brindisi, in

light of the European Directive on Industrial Emissions 2010/75/EU.

We join to our letter a dossier to help your services identify at best our request. We stand

ready to provide you with any additional information that you may need and seize the

opportunity to ask you for a meeting on the issue.

Sincerely yours,

Marco Alvisi, Salute Pubblica Association

Antonia Battaglia, Peacelink

Alessandro Marescotti, Peacelink

Maurizio Portaluri, Oncologist in National Health Service

Ornella Tarullo, Peacelink

Peacelink Taranto/Brindisi/Brussels