Decimomanno Civic Committee Report

Civic Committee “Su Sentidu” Decimomannu

The civic committee “Su Sentidu” was created in Decimomannu in February 2011by a group of citizens and has the following purposes:
1)      To monitor the territory with the aim to safeguard the public health and the integrity of the environment;
2)      To operate with every legitimate mean in order to inform, involve and mobilize the public opinion;
3)      To assume initiatives towards all the Institutional Organs, in particular those that are directly responsible for the protection of the rights involved and for the solution of the inherent problems.
4)      To work together with the institutions, the associations and the civil society for the aims pointed above.   

In the course of our activities we came across the (up to the present underrated) emergency relative to the spillage in the soil and the aquifers of the areas around the military base of Decimomannu, of at least 12,000 liters of AVIATION fuel and other heavy hydrocarbons (among them benzene, xylene and lead, dangerous and highly carcinogenic substances that end up in our body through the water, the respiration and the feeding.

According to the military authorities, the spillage started and “ended” presumably in 2007 and has been charged to one single loss from a buried pipe that, they said, has been readily fixed. But the data we collected states that the problem was first denounced 20 years ago by a farmer that was ruined by the contamination. Moreover the analysis, that are periodically conduct by the ECOSTEMA SRL of Villasor, found out that the justification of the loss of fuel cannot be the only cause of the contamination because in the territory have been traced substances that are not comprised in the AVIATION mixture.

One first (or presumed) reclamation work (that cost 900,000 euro) has been carried out between 2007 and 2009. But the subsequent analysis (up to the latest one of December 2011) prove that the contamination is still there and in February 2011 the Mayor of Decimomannu Luigi Porceddu has been forced to emanate a decree that prohibits the use of the water of the wells in the surroundings of the military base.   

The contamination can be testified in person just going to the area where the control units (piezometers)  are located. There are many of them inside and outside the perimeter of the military base. The analysis show that the external ones have the biggest concentration of toxic substances and when we went there in July 2011, together with the Mayor and other members of our administration, we had to leave as soon as possible because we were experiencing breathing problems and heavy cough. The same day we also testified the results of a fire that started from a field inside the base (that had not been cleaned) and that could have been a serious danger for the people living around the area.

The results of the analysis (that are paradoxically carried out every month on commission of the military authorities) are just terrifying. Some of them are reported in the table below, that we created referring to the results of the official analysis:

The military authorities claim that they are conducting a reclamation but the levels are not decreasing, actually we saw that in the latest analysis the concentration of these substances is higher (the data were available just for consultation). We came across a similar case occurred in America in the 80’s with regard to the substances that have contaminated our territory and found out that     the method they say they are using to reclaim the area (through aspiration) is not the appropriate one. In particular the contamination from benzene cannot be resolved with this method. It should be nominated an external commission of experts to investigate the extent and the types of the contaminations to impose the right methods of reclamation no matter the cost, also considering that one hour of training flight earns to the Italian Government around 50.000 Euro.

Despite the evidence and the severity of the situation the authorities continue to understate the danger of such a situation and are hiding themselves behind the technical times that are needed to verify what is already proved and started not in 2007 but many years before. In the meantime they are not testing the consequences of the contamination on the population and the food chain. In the meantime the death rates for cancer and other diseases that can be related to the contamination and the other activities of the military base, are increasing. Among them also an impressive increment in heart diseases and death for heart attack also in young age (that some researchers related to the noise of the aircrafts).

We ask why our authorities do not investigate thoroughly on the impact and consequences that the activities of one of the most important European military bases can have on the life and the health of the populations of Decimomannu, Assemini, Villasor, San Sperate, Decimoputzu and Uta just to mention the nearest towns, around 70.000 citizens.

Our zone, already strongly sacrificed because of the trajectories of civil flight of the airport of Elmas, endures in average more than 50 flights a day, in particular during practices and the periods of war like the most recent against Libya, during which the airplanes took off at all hours of day and night, breaking off the sound barrier and flying at very low height on top of our heads causing stress and fear on the population.

Another worrisome aspect of the military activities that are carried out inside of the military base of Decimomannu is the testing and the activity of different radar systems about which know very little. No one has estimated the capacity and the impact on the health of the population of the electromagnetic waves they produce. Should not be a duty of the government and the military authorities to verify this before starting or continuing?

The dangerousness of the air that we breathe, the acoustic pollution, the stress deriving from the war activities in our territory, the lack of plans of emergency in the case of an accident, the lack of respect of the air corridors and the protocols of security are all things that the local authorities should monitor and hold under control.

We formally asked for answers and facts but no one is listening. They send us to different offices and different people saying that someone else may be the right person to speak to. We have ourselves conducted a survey towards the family doctors of our town to see what is going on. The number of people dying for cancer or under chemotherapy is just unbelievable and we registered some cases of lymphoma non-Hodgkin but not even the doctors want to take position. Some of them produced some data on the illnesses of their patients but didn’t gave us any official list.  

It is also very difficult to raise awareness in the population because (like in the case of the polygon of Quirra) people are very scared of the economic impact that the disclosure of the contamination can have on the economy (being agriculture and sheep-farming the main Sardinian livelihoods). They prefer to ignore the terrifying consequences that the military slavery has on our lives and territory and go against those that try to find and take out the truth.

This is the situation in Decimomannu, this is the situation in Sardinia and in the rest of the world. We are in fact fighting against an invisible and deadly enemy…. It is a war for our rights and the tools that we have to fight are not enough. It should be the Government to protect us and care for the consequences of military presence in our territories.  

The impression that we had the day of our on-spot investigation to verify the contamination and the same we have today is that the military do not give any importance to us, our health, security and well-being. They just exploit us, taking our land, polluting it with consequences that will last for hundreds of years. National security is the reason why we should bare them but how can it be if themselves are putting us in danger? How can it be if they don’t respect us and do nothing to preserve us and our children? How can it be if they are actually killing us?       

The Committee Representative
Monica Pisano