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Soaring soil consumption impacts Italian environment, economy: study

ROME, March 28 — Italy has lost 720 square km of soil over the past three years, the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) has said in recent report.

The report, which was published earlier this week, warned of enormous soil consumption which has caused 7.3 percent of Italy's territory to be "irreparably lost."

ISPRA has calculated that 8 square meters were being lost in Italy every second, due to a major urbanization process that has been carried out over the last 50 years as well as to the frequent building of infrastructures.

Soil consumption has strongly impacted the environment in the Mediterranean peninsula, a relatively small territory with a population of around 60 million: according to the report, from 2009 to 2012, the rampant overbuilding led to the emission of 21 million tonnes of CO2 to the Italian atmosphere.

The most cemented cities, the report found, were Naples in southern Italy, followed by business capital Milan and Turin in northern Italy. The soil's consumption impact also had negative repercussions on water and agriculture, ISPRA said.

Commenting on the report, Italian Minister of Environment Gian Luca Galletti highlighted that "defending the soil from indiscriminate attacks means not only safeguarding strategic economic resources, but also protecting the country from the threat of hydrogeological instability which often has serious consequences, especially in terms of loss of human lives."

ISPRA said it has launched a mobile app to encourage citizens to signal new areas subjected to strong soil consumption in the country. (PNA/Xinhua)

LAM/EBP

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