A daily, endless, infinite coming and going, thousands of tons of sewage sludge from Puglia to the land of Malvasia. A snake of trucks overflowing with stench and "waste", as the law classifies them. A stinking trail, from extreme Puglia, along the boot, up to Livorno, to cross the Tyrrhenian Sea on line ferries, like a floating caravan of putrid slime, destined for the island of perfumes, mastic and myrtle. A silent traffic, a cyclopean deal, millions of euros in exchange for a disposal that is as impactful as it is suspicious. All destined for that strip of land where the ancestors have built over the centuries, with skilful mastery, the most prized fruit of Planargia, the Malvasia di Bosa. The silence on an authorization issued with a carnival rigor had prevented the prevention of the nightmare that was about to fall on that quadrilateral of hills and vineyards, between Magomadas, Flussio, Tresnuraghes and Tinnura.

Slaps of stench

The inhabitants of Magomadas did not want to believe it when they were the first to hear violent slaps of concentrated stench rising in the air between their houses, like a slap in the face. They had never seen such a massive anti-aircraft deployment of flies, fed as if there were no tomorrow among the sewage sludge of Puglia, arriving who knows for what nefarious reason in that peaceful and unsullied land of Planargia. And yet, it was all bloody true. Magomadas in an instant transformed into a symbol of a land violated and raped with the most insipid disfigurement that could be inflicted on that corner of Sardinia beaten by the sun and the wind, shaped by an exclusive coast never offended by wild tourism.

Nectar of the Gods

The protests didn't take long to arise, first silent and circumspect, timid and worried, as if they were afraid to lift the lid of the crime, and then more and more decisive, aware of the aggression that was taking place on the future of that land, on the ambitions tourism and respect for that centuries-old tradition linked to that nectar of the Gods. Mario Soldati, the Piero Angela of the 1960s, a universal connoisseur of Italian wines, did not use periphrases to describe the good things that are produced in Planargia. For him, Malvasia was «bright, very fine, light, silky, fragrant, savory with rose and juniper. Above all completely dry». That story and the enlightened wine productions sculpted in the centuries-old cellars weren't enough to stop the havoc that was taking place in the most total silence of institutions and not just close to the village of Magomadas. Winks were perceived, support from lobbies and regional apparatuses, but the progress of unease among citizens at a certain point no longer looked anyone in the face.

Test videos

The videos, the ones "stolen" in the Planargia countryside, were much more than proof. They were the demonstration that that sewage mud, loaded with every substance, was ending up in one way or another in the agricultural lands. Holes dug with an excavator in the open field, a truck ready for the crime, burying or spreading. The technique varied, but the result was always the same: polluting waste in the middle of the field. The tension is skyrocketing. The Chairman of the Planargia Environment Committee, Franco Secchi, razed a historic Malvasia vineyard to the ground. Vines cut off as an act of war, perhaps, for having loudly denounced that crime. That traffic of trucks loaded with Apulian sewage sludge rises and falls from the heel of the boot to the heart of Malvasia. The province seems to be addressing the revocation of the authorization granted with too many distractions, it also officially starts the revocation process for that treatment plant for 80,000 tons of sewage sludge a year, a pity that the only tributaries were those from Puglia. Nothing will happen.

The prosecutor breaks in

Until the Prosecutor of Oristano breaks into the land of Malvasia. It is the decisive turning point. Without hesitation, in no uncertain terms, he orders the immediate seizure of that Geco plant, the company receiving sludge and money, tens and tens of thousands of cubic meters of sewage sludge and millions galore. Sludge-waste coming directly from the purifiers of Bari, Barletta, Taranto and many other plants scattered along that region beyond the Tyrrhenian Sea. A lethal blow to the violence inflicted on the citizens of Magomadas and its surroundings, hostage for almost a year to an invasive nauseating stench, anti-aircraft guns from aggressive flies and, even, the arrogance deployed with both hands by the "Sardinian" importers of Apulian sewage sludge. A young prosecutor, Marco De Crescenzo, with the entire investigative structure of the Oristano prosecutor's office, had for some time observed, followed up, listened to and evaluated what was happening at the extreme borders of the province.

Turbulent pesticide

The spotlights of the magistrates on that "turbulent pesticide" that was robbing an entire community of sleep, with protests that were also mounting in the contiguous centers, had never gone out since then. Until the provision issued in recent days by the city prosecutor who belonged to Judge Eleonora D'Arborea. Facts and misdeeds, all on trial. In the "Decree of Citation for Judgment" for the pre-trial appearance hearing Marco De Crescenzo, Deputy Public Prosecutor at the Ordinary Court of Oristano, does not even leave out the commas. The charges are circumscribed with hitherto unpublished, punctual and certified details. The only defendant is Leonardo Galleri, born in 1972, from Tresnuraghes, sole director of Geco srl, the company that has linked its activity precisely to that "sewage mud pipeline" between Puglia and Planargia, in the land of Sardinia.

J'accuse of the PM

The charges are marked by the penal and environmental code. The violations are limited, serious and without frills: «In his capacity as sole director of GECO Sr.l., a company which, pursuant to the authorization of the Province of Oristano in 2018, manages a waste treatment plant, located in Magomadas in Zona Industriale, loc. "San Pietro" authorized to receive purification sludge and to treat it by drying mixing with the residues of the crushing of the aggregates, for the purpose of the production of soil improver for agriculture, spilled into three lands in the countryside of Tinnura and Magomadas » . The data contained in the indictment are detailed: «In one of the three lands, that of Magomadas, owned/available by GECO SrL, - a total of 7,013 tons of purification sludge mixed with aggregate crushing residues were poured, to be considered to all effects of the law "waste" (special non-hazardous) and not "amendant", thus carrying out an illicit disposal of the same».

Waste, not vitamins

In short, they passed them off as an agricultural amendment, however, according to the prosecutor they were always and only "waste". The magistrate writes in the hearing act: «The substance spilled on the aforesaid lands should be considered "waste" and not "amendment". Marco De Crescenzo is not satisfied with qualifying that sludge as "waste", but promptly declines the reason for it: «GECO had not obtained from the Ministry for Agricultural and Forestry Policies the authorization to market it or in any case the registration of the product, necessary for marketing purposes. The same material cannot be defined as a composted soil improver" as it includes, as an essential and indeed majority component, non-organic materials (inert materials from demolitions). Nor can it be considered the result of a "composting" process as it also includes non-organic materials» .

Prohibited concoction

The synthesis is extreme: a concoction loaded with all kinds of substances, all prohibited. The provision recounts: "the residues from the crushing of aggregates mixed with the sludge contained elements not permitted by the law and by the provincial authorization (aggregates not included in the CER 170504; residues of cement, ceramics, bricks, plastic materials, and lithoid fragments in general , with a particle size greater than that permitted)". Without too many sophistry, the judicial provision focuses on the crime: "this substance was spilled on the land in question without any reason of an agronomic nature but for the sole purpose of getting rid of it, an aim that qualifies the substance as waste". Other than agricultural amendment. According to the prosecutor's office, the only goal was to make sludge and debris disappear, all mixed as if the mix could dissolve the crime. But that's not all: the second charge concerns human health.

Impossible life

And the investigators write it: «Through the management of the Magomadas plant and in particular through the reception, treatment and custody of the purification sludge (both "pure" and mixed with the crushing residues of the aggregates), it spread throughout the area surrounding the plant, including the inhabited centers of Magomadas, Tresnuraghes, Flussio and Tinnura, nauseating odorous emissions, which created significant nuisance and annoyance for the inhabitants of the aforementioned villages and in some cases even health problems, such as to force them to modify the own lifestyle habits, or rather to avoid being outdoors and to close the windows of one's homes (also due to the anomalous and massive presence of large flies, which can also be connected to the activity of the Gecko system)».

June eight at trial

The provision of the Public Prosecutor's Office also indicates the persons and subjects who may bring civil action starting from the Municipalities of Magomadas, Tresnuraghes, Flussio, Tinnura. The Planargia and Montiferro Commune Water Committee, Italia Nostra Sardegna Onlus and the Planargia Environment Committee are also deemed damaged by the offence. The pre-trial appearance hearing is set for: 8 June 2023, at 9 am, Criminal Court of Oristano, Judge Marco Mascia. Magomadas Sewer City is now on trial.

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