Entry Title: "The "Caribbean beaches" of Italy"
Category and Expertise: Editorial, Professional
Entry Description: The “Spiagge Bianche” (“white sand beaches”) is a 4 km-long beach in the town Rosignano Marittimo, in Tuscany. Its unusual white colour, making it similar to the Caribbean sand, is due to the calcium carbonate manufacturing plant Solvay, which produces caustic soda, bicarbonate and sodium carbonate, a kilometre off the coast.
This sodium plant, one of the biggest in Europe, discharges in the sea its polluting slurries, 100.000 tons of waste every year, containing arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nichel, lead and, a few years ago, also mercury. That's why Spiagge Bianche is one of the most polluted beaches in Italy and among the 15 more polluted coasts in the Mediterranean, according the United Nations Environment Programme.
In spite of health risks and bathing and stationing prohibition near the chemical plant drain, Spiagge Bianche still is one of the most visited beaches in Tuscany, especially in summer, when its turquoise sea attracts thousands of tourists. They feel like they are staying at the Caribbean and have the chance of taking wondeful selfies in a fancy and exotic landscape.