published on 20 September 2019 in earth

How much land do we consume in Italy?

Consumption of land in Italy continues to increase and in 2018 the unbuilt area of our country decreased by another 51 square kilometres, that is, on average, around 14 hectares per day were covered with concrete, asphalt or other types of artificial coverings. In 2019, the speed at which Italian land is being transformed remains in line with that recorded in 2017 (52 square kilometres): in the past year just under 2 square metres of land have been irreversibly lost every second. This alert was put out by the annual report on “Land consumption, territorial dynamics and ecosystem services – 2019 Edition”, published by ISPRA (Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research) and by SNPA (National System for Environmental Protection) recently presented in Rome.
Almost half the land loss in the past year was concentrated in urban areas, 15% in central and semi-central areas, and 32% in the outlying belts and less densely populated zones. Uncontrolled building continues without interruption, especially in areas that are already threatened to a high degree: the percentage is 10 times higher than in areas less involved in this phenomenon. In Rome, for example, consumption of land cancels, in just one year, 57 hectares of the city’s open spaces (out of 75 hectares of total consumption). In the city of Milan, figures are even higher: land consumption has swept away 11 hectares of open spaces (out of 11.5 hectares of total consumption). Turin, on the contrary, has changed course and is beginning to recover and regain land, winning back 7 hectares of land.

We quote the European Soil Charter (European Council, 1972) which states “Soil is one of the most valuable assets of humanity. It enables the life of plants, animals and mankind on the surface of the earth.” However, we often underestimate the fact that soil is a limited, non-renewable resource. Indeed, it may take up to one thousand years to form a centimetre of soil: its impoverishment and degradation cannot therefore be recovered in just one lifetime.

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