Global Perspectives - Italy: Taranto
The steelworks of Ilva S.p.A, based in Taranto (in the region of Puglia, on the Ionian Sea), are the largest in Europe. More than 14,000 people work in the factory. In 2012 an investigation for environmental crimes led to the arrest of the owners of the company. They have been found responsible for the production of elevated emissions of dioxin, correlated to abnormally high cancer incidence in the area and for the death of several workers of the steel plant by cancer. The company was bought by the multinational ArcelorMittal Group in 2018, but since a few months returned to the commissioners management. The government has been struggling trying to save at the same time the environment, people’s health and the economy.
Board of Directors. Ionian Dolphin Conservation – Taranto. Awarded among the 21 Italian excellences at Expo 2015, the Ionian Dolphin Conservation is an association that operates as a research center on the dolphins and whales of the Gulf of Taranto with the goal of preserving marine biodiversity and this wonderful endangered species in particular. At the Ketos research center in Taranto the researchers of the Jonian Dolphin Conservation will tell us about their activities and show us their impressive learning spaces. National Council of Research. The Marine Biology section of the National Council of Research (CNR) based in Taranto, also known as Talassografico, is the most important research center for Marine Biology in Italy. The city of Taranto, located on an island next to a peninsula dividing an inner lagoon (Mar Piccolo) from a outer bay (Mar Grande) inside the Gulf of Taranto in the Ionian Sea, in the very center of the Mediterranean Sea, is the perfect place to study an incredible variety of biodiversity, but also to understand what threatens it. The director of the CNR will introduce us to the local environment and we’ll discuss the problem of invasive species, the resources of Long Term Research and the effects of pollution to marine life. The city of Taranto is also known as one of the main producers of mussels in Europe. The mussels of Taranto are especially renowned for their quality and the strict controls on their production. The mussels grow on ropes and nets suspended over poles and wooden structures in the lagoon of the Mar Piccolo, where a mixture of fresh and saltwater provides a special marine environment. The freshwater in Mar Piccolo is supplied by 34 underwater springs that create favorable conditions for both mussels and other kinds of fish and shellfish.