Violent Clashes In 'World Of Rubbish' Row

Protesters angry about a massive new rubbish dump in their Italian town have hurled stones and fireworks during ugly clashes that left five riot police injured.

(Sky News)

Protesters angry about a massive new rubbish dump in their Italian town have hurled stones and fireworks during ugly clashes that left five riot police injured.

Police take cover from a shower of fireworks

Furious residents of Terzigno have blocked all access to the existing tip for several days - causing thousands of tons of rubbish to pile up on the streets of nearby Naples.

They claim a planned second dump is "destroying" them and forcing children to live in a "world of rubbish" - with people complaining of the stench, toxic waste and disease.

Anna de Vicenzo, a grammar school teacher, said: "The bad smell bothers us, but it is the lesser evil.

"The most important thing is that we are dying here, there is leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma, there are the most terrible diseases around."

An overturned car burns in Terzigno

Under fire for several hours, police responded to the demonstrators' attacks with tear gas and batons - as cars and piles of rubbish were set on fire.

Local authorities have claimed a dispute with a waste contractor has aggravated the crisis.

People's frustration has been heightened by repeated policy changes. Plans for a new dump have been announced, cancelled and then reinstated on several occasions.

But the main concern remains children's health.

Thousands of tons of rubbish have piled up in Naples

Mother-of-three Emma Grippo said: "Our children have had respiratory problems and some paediatricians have advised us to move to another area."

Another parent, Anna Langella, added: "They have ruined our lives, the lives of our children who are growing up in a world of rubbish, they are destroying our lives day by day."

Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, made dealing with the Naples rubbish crisis - which started in 2007 - a central promise of his election campaign.

A European commissioner has said the country could face European Union legal action and fines running into millions of euros if it continues to fail to find a solution.