San Vitaliano: Town near Naples bans wood-fired pizza ovens to tackle pollution

Local newspaper describes the town’s smog crisis as ‘our Beijing’

A small town near Naples has placed a temporary ban on wood-fired pizza ovens as a measure to curb pollution in the area.

The mayor of San Vitaliano, a town 15 miles north of Naples, issued an edict banning the use of wood-fired stoves in bakeries and eateries including pizzerias unless special filters are installed.

San Vitaliano has some of the worst air pollution in Italy, exceeding the limit for polluting emissions 114 times. Industralised Milan exceeds the limit 86 times in comparison.

Local newspaper Il Mattino described the town’s growing pollution problem as “our Beijing”, holding “six thousand souls hostage [in the] Vesuvius smog”.

Nearby Naples seems like a “perfumed garden” when compared to San Vitaliano, according to the newspaper, despite being one of Italy’s worst offenders in terms of air quality.

The edict, issued by Antonio Falcone, said “businesses involved in baking and catering, such as pizzerias, are forbidden from using biomass fules (wood, wood chips, pellets, charcoal, etc) for cooking food in appliances such as open and closed ovens”.

Anyone caught disobeying the ban will face a fine of up to €1,032 (£760).

Local residents, who are unhappy with the ban, held a protest on Sunday in front of the town hall.

According to a report by Corriere della Sera, one resident said: “We can’t be the cause of the smog. Naples has many more pizzerias than San Vitaliano but doesn’t have the same pollution levels.

“It’s clear that they don’t want to pinpoint the real cause. This order is a very costly mistake for us.”

A pizzeria owner, Massimiliano Arrichiello, told Il Mattino: “Shocking, it’s so ridiculous. They don’t want us to make pizza?

“We make about 34 pizzas a day, how do they think we are responsible for the pollution problems around here?”

The measure is due to stay in place until March, and may be reintroduced later if new filtering systems prove to be ineffective.