In a statement dated May 11, the Italian Tanners Association (UNIC) said the state of deterioration of the Sarno river “is nothing new, but a problem well known for decades, so much so that it has been the subject of several parliamentary investigations, but never resolved”. According to UNIC, Solofra represents 150 companies, which together employ 2,000 people and have a combined annual turnover of €500 million, of which over 75% are exports.

“These companies are penalised, like everyone else, by the negative impact of Covid-19, which will lead to an estimated loss of turnover of between 40-50% at the end of the year, and have also recently found themselves subject to unfounded attacks regarding their alleged responsibility for the pollution of the Sarno river, by political forces that are obviously not aware of the reality of the territories. The tanneries are the first to wish that a definitive solution be found for environmental, ethical and economic reasons” said UNIC, adding that the tanneries have been “superficially and unjustly” the “scapegoat” of a situation that is “caused exclusively by the inadequacy of the civil sewage networks and by the lack of collectors and purifiers downstream of the tanning cluster.”

In the statement, UNIC explains how the Solofra district is “far from being the cause of the problem” as it has a purification complex characterised by a double passage in treatment plants. According to UNIC, the tanners of the district are “tired of suffering reckless attacks” and have called on the Italian Ministry of the Environment and the Presidency of the Campania Region, as well as all other authorities in charge, “to accelerate and increase the controls aimed at repressing illegal conduct that has nothing to do with the tanning business”.

“In this regard, the companies in the tanning district provide their utmost collaboration for precise and strict controls in order to dispel any doubts about their absence of responsibility”, said UNIC.