The city of Rome, Italy, is on the brink of shutting down its sewage system after the city’s mayor declared the situation a public health emergency.
According to Reuters, the city of 1.3 million has spent more than $1.5 billion on wastewater treatment and treatment facilities in the past decade, but the city has yet to finish making money from it.
“The city of Italy’s capital, Rome, is struggling to recover from the unprecedented surge in the use of sewage in the city, and is on a mission to fix the problem,” Reuters reported.
“A recent study by the city found that about 1.1 million cubic meters of sewage have been discharged in the last two months, while more than 5 million people are still affected by the sewage crisis.”
The sewage problem is especially acute in the wealthier parts of Rome.
In one city, the Italian government estimates that nearly one in three residents live in areas where the city sewage system has not been operational for months.
“It is very difficult to assess the total number of people affected,” said Giancarlo Liguori, deputy mayor for urban planning and development.
“In many of the poorer neighborhoods, there is no wastewater treatment facility,” Liguiori told the Associated Press.
“Many neighborhoods are suffering because they have not been able to invest in infrastructure.”
As a result, the problem of untreated sewage in Rome has been getting worse by the day.
“This is not a situation that can be solved overnight,” Likos Karpis, a former chief executive of the city and now director of a non-profit organization, told Reuters.
“There is no solution in sight.”