Anthony M. Quattrone’s article published yesterday evening on Naples Politics, Waste crisis: Naples snubbed by Northern League brought some much-needed clarity to some of the issues surrounding Naples trash crisis, a very complex problem that I’m sure has as many layers as the city itself. It is a very welcome addition to the misinformed and sensationalized 140 character sound bytes, photos and short videos that have been sweeping the twitter waves over the last week or so.

Tweeting from North Carolina – Naples, Italy is trashed.

Tweeting from Canada – Naples under piles of garbage

Tweeting from Rome – In Naples looks like war zone

Tweeting from Turin – Latest on Naples rubbish woes. This is 1 place you don’t want to visit in Italy! (with link to 9 sentence article)

A thoughtful and well researched article, Waste Crisis answered several questions that had been swirling around in my mind. Questions like how much trash is there in Naples on a normal day? Turns out 1250 tons is the daily average and at its peak this time there was 2500 tons of trash. That’s double the daily average and a whole heap of trash to be sure, but the relentless tweeting of 2500 tons of trash on Naples streets without a reference point was arbitrary and meaningless.

I suppose it’s easy to stand outside and comment on things you have no personal knowledge of. Easier still to see the bad over the good, the dark side over the bright and I’m beginning to believe that most people see the world from the glass is half empty perspective. Of course most of those people would probably argue that I should get a new prescription for my rose-colored glasses.

Either way, nothing is black or white, at least it isn’t to me. The world I live in is a thousand of shades of grey that can’t be summed up into a 140 character tweet. Yet to some degree, twitter has become a spectator sport. Nothing analyzed, nothing researched, precious little original material, and thousands of Monday morning quarterbacks tweeting and retweeting the same sensationalized misinformation.

So much so that these recent sound bytes from twitter would lead you to believe that Naples was buried in trash like Pompeii was in ash and burning to the ground like Nero’s Rome. Yet those who actually live here were seeing something quite different.

There is no doubt that Naples experienced another trash crisis and there were a number of incidents and clashes, but I’m happy to say that the city is not, as was reported on twitter “buried in trash,” “going up in flames,” “a war zone” and this latest trash crisis was definitely not “the end of Naples.”

Apparently the sensationalism was politically motivated (or perhaps not), but isn’t that the point. With little or no due diligence, the same misinformation was tweeted and retweeted ad nauseam perpetuating the sensationalism.

As I said in Bad News Travels Fast, if I’d never been here before and was contemplating a trip, a quick search on twitter would have definitely steered me the other way. So I have to ask again, did this latest tweet storm help the situation or was it just another assault on the city’s reputation? Or worse yet, an assault on the people themselves as alluded to in one of the more recent tweets:

If the locals were a bit more on the ball, they’d tidy up Naples Italy themselves. But they just moan.

Again, in my rose-colored world there are many shades of grey and while some moaned, many made their voices heard at the ballot box, electing a new Mayor, Luigi de Magistris. This in turn seems to have spurred a number of grass-roots initiatives as long time resident Anthony M. Quattrone reported in Naples: Change is taking place bottom-up.

One such initiative, CLEANAP Piazza Pulita! was inspired by a group of 50 citizens who cleaned up Piazza del Plebiscito on June 4th. Since then CLEANAP, a group of citizens “united by their love for Naples” and “armed with brooms, dustpans, detergent, trash bags, and of course, good intentions” have been taking to the streets, or I should say the piazzas to return dignity to the places they hold most dear. Thus far they have cleaned up Piazza Bellini, Largo Banchi Nuovi, and next up is Porta Capuana on Friday July 8th, 17:30 – 21:30 if anyone wants to join.

So if you feel the need to retweet news about Naples, how about doing a bit of due diligence first and while we are at how about giving some of the good things going on around the city some equal time too, say for example this video: