The minister described the three years since the government's previous report as a period in which "Italy has made great efforts to improve the state of the environment and increase sustainability". He committed to integrating environmental considerations into all aspects of policy decision-making, moving gradually towards a ecological tax policy and opening environmental policy to a wider cross-section of society.
The report is divided into nine areas and provides statistics to illustrate trends over the last three years and outlines action taken in each area:
* Climate change: Greenhouse gas emissions have risen 5.4% since 1990. There is a euros 51.6bn (ITL100,000bn) programme to reduce emissions. A new general transport and logistics plan will integrate environmental criteria into all policy in the sector.
* New energy sources: The government wants to double renewable energy production by 2010, and invest euros 100m in solar power.
* Ground and subsoil: All responsibility for ground and subsoil policy is to be consolidated in the environment ministry.
* Habitats: There is to be a major increase in habitat protection. New legislation will combat the impacts of illegal tourist developments.
* Water: Existing legislation has not eliminated prevalence of poor water quality (37% very bad or sub-standard). There has been no improvement in eutrophication, and salinisation is worsening, although sea water quality is improving. Euros 2bn has been spent on 544 water purification projects.
* Maritime transport: There is a major financial and legislative effort to equip coastal and port authorities to reduce risks from maritime transport of dangerous substances.
* Waste: Generation increased 4% from 1995 to 1998. Selective collection of urban solid waste beat a 15% target and waste disposal in landfill sites fell for the first time in 1998. Nevertheless, there remain big disparities in selective collection between south and north.
* Urban areas: There has been a 5% decline in public transport and 25% rise in private transport passenger kilometres. Sulphur dioxide limits in air are regularly breached in many cities but there has been a fall in carbon monoxide breaches. The government is undertaking a euros 52bn investment in public transport and alternative fuel research.
* New health risks: Measures are being taken to control electrosmog and a special commission on genetically modified organisms is to report soon.
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