The docks are deserted. Anna Mur, a ferry as old as the cucco, worn by forty years of seas, first English and then Sardinian, stands perpendicular to the Portovesme dock. Profondo Sulcis, the industrial one. Here the sun does not shine, pickaxe. The aerial grab of the crane placed near the ferry to Carloforte does not stop for a moment. When you dive to fish for black dust in the hold of the "Seamelody", the Maltese flag, you understand the tonnage of the coal mine docked a stone's throw from the passengers shuttling to the Island of San Pietro.

Red & black

In this port, increasingly modest, the roads are divided, to the south they are red, to the north black. If you've been there for a lifetime, you don't even notice it anymore, the dust lying on the way from the port to the Enel power plant seems to you simply asphalt burned by the grip of the summer heat. In reality, however, if you follow the trail dusty with coal, you realize that you do not need signs to reach the entrance of the "Grazia Deledda", the plant that Enel, between now and 2025, must close forever, a little 'for free choice and a little for higher orders. The three-hundred-meter tower that climbs into the sky is the tallest building in Sardinia, a chimney built close to the stars to vent one of the last two thermoelectric power plants on the island at a high altitude. To the south, the roads, on the other hand, are red, almost clay, like that of Roland Garros, with the difference that tennis is not played here. That reddish dust has been wedged for decades in the interstices of the landscape, from that expanse of red mud that overlooks the port area, up to the internal and external road network to what was once Eurallumina, the factory of the Russian Rusal dedicated since its birth to produce alumina, daughter of bauxite, the raw material for the production of aluminum. The factory has been strictly closed for no less than 14 years, waiting for energy and environmental solutions capable of breaking the polluting grip that has devastated the territory.

The last promise

The gas ship here was also and above all expected to try to save that factory. It is useless to go around it, the naval solution was the last of the many promises far-fetched, with the sole objective of never reopening the energy-intensive industries of this territory. After all, Enel, Terna, the Government and the lords of the wind had long since abandoned their interest in satisfying the electricity needs of Sulcis production. They changed versions and solutions whenever one was coming to be defined. The industrial electrical "load" would have ended up disrupting the plans to transform the island into an energy colony of Italy. The only solution, as stated in the latest agreement between Terna and Enel, is to radically reduce electricity consumption.


In Sardinia, according to Roman plans, less and less industrial energy must be consumed, precisely to allow, without wasting time, the shutdown of the Portovesme and Porto Torres power plants. The plan had to be painless, perhaps to be alleviated with a gas carrier that was adapted for the occasion to become a floating unit for regasification. Too bad, however, that not everything went smoothly. The step is short, from the scandal of the unfinished excavation to the off-limits seabed for the Golar Arctic, the ship bought by Snam to place it on the eastern quay of the port of Sulcis. The gas plan, the one decreed unilaterally by the Draghi government, is destined to blow up. Not for appeals or conflicts, but for direct and undeniable factors. Continuing to ignore the objective temporal scan and for " tabulas" means pursuing a delaying logic entirely aimed at deceiving workers and the perennial expectations of an entire island. A plan, that of the Government, which is showing not only the limits of blatant discrimination towards Sardinia and the Sardinians, from tariffs to denied energy infrastructures, but also due to the technical impossibility of building that floating regasifier in the Portovesme stretch of water.

High toxicity

In fact, there is not only the theme of the depths too high to allow access to the ship purchased by Snam with a drain of 269 million euros. At stake is a reason as heavy as a boulder, kept hidden and concealed: the environmental pollution of the seabed enclosed between the east quay and Punta Tabarchina. The data in our possession tell of a disaster punctuated by a submerged load of poisons capable of making even the most extremist supporter of "everything beautiful and in order" shiver. At the bottom of the sea, in front of that quay tested in 2005, but never used, there is a veritable deposit of toxic and harmful materials, most of which belong to the category of "highly toxic sediments".

Lead & zinc

These are substances directly connected to the unscrupulous environmental management of the territory, with evident slow and continuous spills of materials that have ended up inexorably poisoning the port dock. In the first meter of depth of the seabed to be excavated, quantities of zinc concentrations of 3,500 mg per kilogram of material were recorded, definitely dangerous quantities compared to the permitted “contamination threshold concentrations” of 1,500 mg / kg. The laboratory analyzes that have revealed high concentrations of very dangerous toxic substances on the seabed, starting from lead, one of the most insidious heavy metals for human health, are much worse. In this case, in front of an admitted threshold of 1000 milligrams per kilogram, lead values equal to 6,700 mg per kg were found.

Immediate risks

Substances, lead and zinc, classified as the most dangerous of the ecotoxic ones: HP10 «toxic for reproduction» and HP14 «waste which presents or may present immediate or delayed risks for one or more environmental sectors». Therefore, a real ecological bomb ready to explode in the event of movement of the seabed without the necessary precautions that make the reclamation operation as delicate as a surgical operation. A game always kept under wraps due to the gravity of the situation, with ever more incalculable quantities of materials and costs destined to rise with each new appraisal. To make everything even more complicated is the sudden change in the provisions on environmental remediation. If in the first calculation basis used to design the excavation of that portion of the port, in 2015, 45,563 cubic meters of highly toxic sediments and 246,703 medium toxicity were quantified, in the second draft, just one year later, in 2016, the quantities were even reduced to 36,382 cubic meters for high toxicity and 109,241 for medium toxicity.

The elastic of toxicity

A detail: the quantities of sediments with zero or negligible toxicity have gone from 231,845 to 378,486 cubic meters. A sudden change in classification and quantities that up to now has literally paralyzed any attempt to start that reclamation process that requires infinitely long times considering that those debris to be taken from the seabed must be "extracted" in sealed compartments underwater, to avoid further contamination of the site with expansion of the pollution space. A substantial part of the upper part of the seabed, the most polluted one, must then be subjected to storage on the quay with prescribed treatments ranging from the "washing" of the drainage water, up to the "soil washing", the washing of the earth taken from the backdrop. All, then, to be delivered to the landfill.

The stone hole

But which landfill? Where is it? And, above all, is there such a thing as not to have to take those pollutants for a walk all over Sardinia? The quantities are very significant. The sum of the excavation and dredging materials for the moment stands at half a million cubic meters, a mountain of waste to be enclosed in a "safe" site. The game is also economic: the company that had won the last excavation contract, in 2016, had identified a site relatively close to the port. Upstream of the Sa Piramide landfill, in turn close to the Portovesme industrial plants. It is no coincidence that the stone quarry abandoned and forgotten by all, identified for the operation of "burying" that waste from the seabed, is called "Cava Sa Piramide". It has been so long since that giant stone "hole" was disposed of that the wind lords even managed to place massive wind turbines inside it. Too bad that in seven years no one has ever authorized the use of that site. For now, the poisons remain at the bottom of the sea. The Golar Arctic, the gas carrier destined for Portovesme, is still at anchor in Malaysia. It will stay there for a long time. On the Sulcis route the obstacles become imposing and insuperable. Papers and documents still to be discovered leave no way out.


© Riproduzione riservata