Considerations about the environmental situation of Lombardy

Starting a dissertation about Lombard environmental problems, we cannot avoid to remember that already in 1845, Carlo Cattaneo claimed that “this land (Lombardy, Author’s Note) for nine-tenths is not the work of nature; is the work of our hands; is an artificial Country”.

Indeed, we just cannot blame him considering the statistics of 1846 place Lombardy in second position in the ranking of the most populated regions in Europe (after Belgium and England).

However the current situation really reaches critical thresholds.

The Padan Plain, once covered by dense oak forests so dear to our Ancestors, is now reduced to a third world overbuilt area, polluted and overpopulated by Italian and non-European immigrants.

The situation is particularly problematic around Milan and the Insubric foothills, in the hinterland of Turin, in the foothills of Bergamo and Brescia, and around Reggio Emilia and Modena.

The population density in many areas reaches and exceeds 1,000 inhabitants per square kilometer and is often not even minimally offset with green zones and ecological corridors.

Relatively less urbanized areas are, as well as mountain areas, hilly and plain band from Cuneo to Parma, the low plains from Lodi to Mantova and practically the entire Eastern Lombardy.

Areas that have not experienced strong growth of the “the industrial triangle” (Turin, Milan and Genua) during the 60s and the 70s, but today are however witnessing the same daily subtraction of thousands of square meters of virgin land to make unwise expanses of concrete and asphalt.

And the fact that this overbuilding, which has the substance of a crime against humanity, has been done and still is done with legal means in reality is an aggravating factor to this shameful disaster.

Our problems are not confined, however, to the reckless use of the soil.

It turns out in fact to be acknowledged as the aesthetics and functionality of the urban areas too often fall below the limit of decency (not to mention the fact that in these areas quietly dominates alien crime, first of all various mafias imported from Italian immigrants).

An important mention must be reserved for the infrastructure.

There is in fact a very costly and irrational increase in the size of the motorway network that is irreversibly damaging many territories (think of all about the Pedemontana, a highway somewhat pointless because, instead of connecting directly Varese, Como, Lecco and Bergamo, is a kind of zig zag in the Northern part of Milan province destroying the few remaining forests there), when it would be much better to develop the rail network (currently in a really shameful state) and especially the network of inland waterways (once among the best ones in Europe).

In addition to ease the automotive traffic, that would allow to be less dependent on oil, a resource totally absent in Lombardy and that is expected to run out in the next few decades.

If that was not enough, however, the rapacious land management to make you reflect on the environmental degradation of Lombardy, let’s now take a look at another big problem in Lombardy: pollution.

In addition to optimize the regime in completely irrational artificial beds, the waters are also very polluted (the famous “gamber pescaa ind el Lamber” (“crayfish fished in the Lambro river”) are now a memory since decades).

The high traffic, inefficient heating systems and many industrial processes of the companies placed in Lombardy also bring in Milan, Turin and in many other cities every year dangerous concentrations of particulate in the air, thus favoring respiratory diseases.

The accumulation of pollutants is quite favored by the conformation of the Lombard territory, surrounded on almost all sides by mountain ranges and by the fact that in areas of the world with a temperate climate prevail air movement from West to East.

The deforestation and the advance of cement also make summers in the plain, already hot, humid and poorly ventilated, less and less bearable for humans and other living beings.

Eventually, the degradation of Lombard environment is further accentuated by introduction of alien plant and animal species harmful to the ecosystem, occurred because of the globalization of trade and the development of intercontinental travels.

The spread of harmful species such as the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), the wels catfish (Silurus glanis), chestnut gall wasp (Dryocosmus kuriphilus), spotted-wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii), ragweed, giant hogweed, knotweed, ailanthus, paulownia, etc. is also favored by the fact that in recent years the climate of Lombardy has become hotter and hotter (consequences of global warming and air pollution in the area).

To avoid going beyond the point of no return, it is clear that it is necessary to reduce, adequately and quickly, the human pressure on the Lombard soil.

And the first step in this direction must include the resolution of unsustainable population pressure in Lombardy by blocking further immigration flows, from wherever they come from.

The conservation of environment and natural beauty of Lombardy goes hand in hand with our ethnic and cultural identity.

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