Mosè in Ottana, a deep land of Sardinia, snatched from pastoralism by the worst petrochemicals, has never been there. In the sacred scriptures there is not even a trace of wounds spread in the fields of Noragugume, Bolotana, Olzai up to Sedilo, in the land of Ardia. The prophet of God, the Bible relates, "stretched out his staff" only "over the land of Egypt and the Lord directed an east wind there all that day and all night. When it was morning, the east wind had brought the locusts. They covered the whole country, so that it was obscured by them; they devoured every grass of the earth and every fruit of the tree that the hail had spared: nothing green remained on the trees and grass in the fields ».
Moses in Ottana
And yet, despite that prophecy was addressed to the land of the Pharaoh, the epochal destruction of voracious locusts marched inexorably for days on those endless expanses of land scorched by the heat of "Hannibal", straddling the largest river on the island, the Thyrsus. Those two chimneys in the heart of the petrochemical that no longer exists, cross and devastation in the industrial history of the island, burst into the proscenium from whatever horizon this land reaches. The asphalt here has changed color. That road marked by signs pierced by rust is no longer there. As if the curse of Moses had chosen crossroads and maps, roads and paths, when you enter the industrial area near Ottana and Bolotana, you understand that the biblical narratives, the scourges described in the sacred scriptures, are not a fantasy rhetoric. Anyone who has not read chapter 10 of the Exodus from the Bible has nothing else to do than walk, as if seeing a video-book, along the provincial road 17, the one that connects the two towns that divide the industrial zone of central Sardinia. The road surface moves, as if it had incorporated a treadmill, micrometric hops, like a terrestrial wave motion. Once against the flow, another diagonally, or where the path of the sun heats the ground more, like chasing the heat of the earth. Billions and billions of grasshoppers. Yes, billions, given that every swarm that moves in this ghostly landscape, burned prematurely by neglect and abandonment, can also include a billion and a half of "individuals". We are talking about a 200-300 tons of grasshoppers. To understand the biblical shock wave that is hitting these lands, a simple observation is enough: each grasshopper is able to consume a quantity of plant biomass equal to their body weight on a daily basis. Every day that the sun rises in the land of Planargia, on the Ottana side, 200-300 tons of cultivated fields, wheat, alfalfa, trees of all kinds are destroyed. This is for a single swarm, but it is certain that the territory is now vastly out of control. The geo-referenced maps, reported and found by those who live in this catastrophe and by the technicians of Laore, have reached dimensions that make the fire that devastated the Montiferru minuscule. The borders of the red zones, declined in the disaster map, mark the stratospheric figure of 30,000 hectares hit by the tsunami of the locusts. We are talking, using the most Sunday unit of measurement there is, of 30,000 football fields. With the difference that the football fields do not move, do not advance, while this barbaric horde of "acridids" runs over the streets and fields as if each day became more voracious and consistent. An uneven, belated, disorganized struggle, without economic and human resources. Few technicians left to themselves, an emergency plan that could be useful to stop a "herd of ants", but certainly not to block the advance of an army devouring grasshoppers. If you arrive in this quadrilateral you immediately understand that the war is lost. It is Saturday morning when we cross the Hell Gate of “Dociostaurus maroccanus”, better known as the Crusader or Moroccan locust. In the Cagliari offices they are convinced that grasshoppers do not devour at the weekend. Here today we have not seen any of those 15 sprayers that are supposed to spray the infested lands. Yes, fifteen spreaders of active ingredients for 30 thousand hectares, as shown by the internal and confidential documents that decline the defeat in the field. In fact, they are spreading something on the path of these “beasts” of Egypt, it is a pity that the results are practically non-existent, both in terms of quantities and effects. In the countryside here, contrary to what one might think, there are breeders who have studied, who are engineers and lawyers, agricultural experts and agronomists. Young people who have the best of companies forced to fight a plague that does not belong to them because they, the land, have plowed and cultivated them in time. Their flocks are shorn and enjoy modern paddocks. Too bad they are surrounded by neglect and indifference. Thousands of public and private hectares, those hoping to make money with photovoltaics paid for by citizens, have been abandoned for decades. Never a plow. Never an attention. They cherish the dream of millionaire incentives and hatch millions of grasshopper eggs every year more and more. And when someone points out that the active ingredients that are being used are "thermolabile", that is, the effects disappear as the heat advances, they fall from the clouds. To have a minimal effect, if used on a much wider front, it should be sprayed at night and early in the morning. Here, however, for those devices in the morning they start spraying when the sun is already sighting the second hand after sunrise. The emergency is titanic, unimaginable for those who occupy a desk of a councilorship without disengaging. In recent weeks, even a drone has arrived at the scene of the catastrophe. To be experienced on a slope south of the Ottana chimneys. A failure. That flying bat would have a capacity of no more than twenty liters of spraying per flight. If he were well equipped he could do ten hectares a day. It would take 3,000 days for the entire red zone, 8 years. And even if they decide to make a maxi order they would only do a favor to the manufacturer or to the one that would manage them.
Chronicle of a disaster
For the rest, the chronicle of the disaster travels from company to company. The hay, the one already harvested, turns into straw in a few hours, the one to be cut is literally razed to the ground by the passage of the devouring wave. In two days the locusts empty it as if they had a built-in sorter, leave the scraps on the ground and consume the feed destined for the flocks. The advance is inexorable, from Monte Nigheddu, in the Ottana countryside to the potato cultivation of Sedilo. They go inside the house, inside the companies. When the sun is high on the plain of Ottana, the herds of grasshoppers advance at a "cavalry" pace over the entire Tirso valley. The red zones are drawn on a map that marks the inexorable advance on the field. Now the gaze is all turned to the southern front, towards Sedilo. The arch of San Costantino is a stone's throw away. If there is no miracle, the scenario risks turning into catastrophe, with the Campidano within a range of locusts. The disaster is already written in the papers that have remained secret until today.