The number of dead bodies waiting to be accommodated is still high. At the moment in the Rotoli cemetery in Palermo there are 1,246 coffins without burial (736 requests for burial, 451 for entombment and 50 entrusted to charities, according to the data provided by the pentastellato councilor Antonio Randazzo), substantially the cemetery is in the same situation as The end of August. And this despite the fact that, for example, burials have been resumed which in some way made it possible to avoid further accumulations.
Four months have passed since the Lagalla administration took office and the proxies were distributed. There hasn’t been a breakthrough yet. But some good news begins to peep out. For example, that the technical testing of the works on the rocky ridge above Santa Maria dei Rotoli was positive and at this point, from the first working day, the teams of workers will be able to enter the fields and begin cleaning and disinfestation. “After about five years of prohibition, that area has been transformed into an area where weeds and shrubs have grown out of proportion, essentially impracticable if nothing is done first,” explains city councilor Totò Orlando. The next step is the administrative testing: it serves to be able to downgrade the danger level of the area, from R4 to R3.
The news that access to the inhumation fields under the ridge is back allows us to plan the exhumulation activities of the mineralized corpses, which are about 90 percent, given that the coffins were placed in crates without zinc. In these areas, the time allowed before the graves can be reopened is six years after burial. And from March 2023 to July 2024 a total of 870 places are expiring, in addition to the 170 already freed up. In reality, there is a rule that allows the intervention to be brought forward after 5 years (instead of 6), but the mayor would have to ask for it from a special provincial commission. It is not excluded that the administration uses it to speed things up.
The councilor for cemetery services, Orlando, further explains that the work of placing the 424 above-ground prefabricated burials continues (expenditure of 384,000 euros) “by the end of January they will all be settled”. The schedule provided that the first 150 seats could be used by Christmas.
There would also be, in this sad puzzle, the piece concerning the return to function of the old crematorium temple (to be used exclusively for the cremation of zinc-free coffins). The reactivation of the oven not only allows the city to be provided with a service of considerable importance (at the moment those who choose cremation have to face a fairly long journey) but it could become a fundamental tool for dealing with the emergency, allowing an effective rotation of the burial fields . The works, however, were handed over to the company on 5 September. But neither the building interventions nor those involving the replacement of some parts of the plant have ever started.
«The oven – explains Orlando – did not have the authorizations required by recent legislation (especially those on fume emissions, ed). So we await the green light from the authorities, who have to pronounce themselves. As soon as we have it, in a month at the most we will have the temple functioning with all the planned interventions». If the company has not been asked to start the works, it is because they want to avoid the possibility of a functioning plant, but which cannot be authorised, with a useless waste of resources, without any benefits and with the risk of wasted money.
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