Sacrificing Pizza Is Not The Way To Save The Environment

The Neapolitan town of San Vitaliano, the birthplace of pizza, has banned the use of wood-burning stoves without a filter – a ban that will affect private homes with chimneys and, most importantly, the town’s pizzerias. The horror! Someone save the pizza!

The ban has led to calls for Mayor Antonio Falcone’s resignation, but as it turns out, pollution is a very real problem in Italy (add that to the list of things you learned today). It’s one of the worst European countries for air quality, and according to the New York Times, its air is affected by everything from industry to geography – the country’s mountains and valleys don’t allow air to circulate well.

Here’s the thing, though: In order to be licensed to have a wood-burning stove in a restaurant in the first place, business owners are already required to have filters. Pizzerias and private homes are hardly likely to be the culprit for the town’s poor air quality; it’s more likely that the burning of toxic waste by organized crime and a nearby energy plant are to blame. So, in the end, the ban is ineffectual both in that it doesn’t do much more for the environment than do laws that were already put in place, and in that it doesn’t direct resources toward addressing the real probable causes of pollution in San Vitaliano.

The upside is that everyone’s pizzas are safe; the downside is that everyone’s pizzas would be safe anyway, and in the meantime, Naples is full of smog and waste. It’s a losing situation for everyone but our taste buds.

[New York Times]
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