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Wednesday 23 June 2021

Letter from Ah! Che bell '' o cafè, sulo a Napule 'or they know fa'

Ah! Che bell '' o cafè, sulo a Napule 'or they know fa'

Author of the content

I don't know how rightly it is said that a "secret" of the goodness of Neapolitan coffee lies in the goodness of the water used.

If so, this could be another reason to remember that March 22 is World Water Day.


It is an anniversary that has been recurring since 1992 to remind us that all over the Earth there is a growing problem of availability of this precious, indeed vital, resource.

It is good that attention is always kept awake and public opinion warned. But not always, indeed almost never, the celebrations are met with concrete facts. So much so that the intentions and commitments made in Johannesburg in 2002 to bring water to one and a half billion people who do not have it, are very far from being achieved and the achievement of this goal is continually deferred over time. In the same way that the commitment to drastically reduce the number of people on Earth who die materially of hunger and, in any case, suffer from food shortages, is slow to be realized.

The observation that these two serious unsolved problems - thirst and hunger - must share is that they do not depend on the lack of water and food, but on the lack of water supply and the economic impossibility of purchasing food. This is a realistic way of approaching the issue by doing justice to the alibis of the unequal distribution of resources on Earth.

water and land

In the case of water, there is almost no inhabited area on the planet in which there are no large water reserves: surface and underground. Just look at a world map to see how well poor and developing countries are gifted with it. Except that here, contrary to what happens in rich and economically developed countries, there are no water collection and regulation systems in the aqueducts that distribute it extensively in homes. And they don't exist because there is no money to build them. And, if there are any, it happens that governments prefer to reserve them for other expenses: generally not for life, but for death, as are the expenses for strengthening the war apparatus for more or less local wars and guerrillas.

Then, they say, international solidarity must intervene. And the latter intervenes verbally with periodic meetings during which, under the aegis of the United Nations, heads of state and government tackle the problem, propose solutions, undertake commitments, sign protocols. All the problems of the environment and resources for over thirty years have been so characterized. Water among them.

For water, however, the solution is more concretely at hand. Provided that "someone" is willing to invest. This someone is generally called multinational food and related sectors: Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Monsanto, Danone and so on. Multinationals willing to invest because water is a "business" and investing is worthwhile. Above all because these investments are also partially financed and facilitated by the World Bank which, in exchange, asks the recipient countries to grant control of tariffs to the companies that make the investments.

This is the deal and this is the risk of what is, in these terms, a real privatization of a resource which is, instead, a common good and, as such, public property.

Arguments of this type have also been made valid in Italy, and, therefore, in Campania and Naples where water, as I said, is also considered the main resource for a princely coffee.

And the water from Campania is really good: the one that flows from the taps, not the bottled one and of which Italians are among the largest consumers on Earth. I am referring to the water that comes mainly from Molise and Irpinia. Mainly from this province of Campania which has long been the major supplier of Naples through the Serino aqueduct built in 1885. Until the population grew and the needs increased, so that water was "mixed" with others. But it is always good.

Let us remember, therefore, on the anniversary of March 22, which is a precious asset that should not be wasted and much less polluted. And let us realize that if it has planetary implications of exceptional vastness and gravity, it does not have any here with us. There is water, it costs little or nothing and there are other reasons for concern or even madness.

Crazy about the water is the title of a short story by Salvatore Di Giacomo. The protagonist, a fresh water maker, «had given time ... he hadn't wanted to eat, not drink; he had stripped naked and wanted to rush off the balcony ». Did you find out why he went crazy? The neighbors ask the desperate mother. «My joy - is the answer - for example the water of or Serino. The water nosta nun se veve cchiù. What simmo do you arrive at! As if it were poison! ».

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