European Union
Contract, Human Rights, Remedies, Criminal, Civil, Admissibility, Precaution, Environmental Impact Assessments, Cooperation, Damages
A state of emergency was declared in the Campania region of Italy from 11 February 1994 to 31 December 2009 regarding collection, treatment, and disposal of waste. This period included five months during which garbage piled up in the streets. Eighteen nationals who lived and/or worked in this region of Campania initiated proceedings alleging a violation of their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights Articles 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and 13 (right to an effective remedy). The court found that the Italian authorities had satisfied their Article 8 obligation to provide information about the risks to the individuals, but had violated Article 13. Although the applicants had not complained of any medical problems and the court determined that their lives and health had not been in danger as a result of their exposure to waste, it did find a violation of their Article 8 right to home and private life. The court based this finding on the right to a healthy environment, concluding that “[t]he collection, treatment and disposal of waste were hazardous activities; as such, the State had been under a duty to adopt reasonable and appropriate measures capable of safeguarding the right of those concerned to a healthy and protected environment."