Italian Island Of Capri Wages War On Noise Pollution
To make sure the chic island getaway offers maximum R&R, Capri wants to limit the use of heavy machinery in summer months. August will be completely silent – except, of course, for all the tourists.
CAPRI – This island is already known for its breathtaking scenery and VIP parties. Now Capri is offering tourists another treat: peace and quiet.
Authorities have prepared a series of regulations to safeguard visitors' siesta time. Police official Marica Avellino has signed a directive to limit noise on the island. The ordinance will go into effect during tourist season: between April and October. Violators will be punished with fines of between 50 and 500 euros.
The new law goes into great detail regulating the use of farming and construction machinery. The use of noisy farming equipment is only allowed four hours a day, between noon and 2 p.m., and between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. In the construction sector, only manual work is permitted, however noisy, and just during limited hours: between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the island's center and in Marina Grande, Capri's main harbor; and between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on the rest of the island.
However, all farming or construction machinery, even if used for public works, is banned in August, the peak of the summer holiday season. Capri had already enforced similar rules in 1999, but not to the same extreme degree.
Avellino wrote in the directive that several hotels had complained about excessive noise caused by construction activities. "We deemed it indispensable during the whole tourist season to safeguard the peace and quiet of our guests, an essential part of what we offer," she said.
The customer may always be right, but construction workers and gardeners worry that their work will grind to a halt. They demanded a meeting with Capri's mayor, Ciro Lembo, insisting the strict noise ordinances be lifted, or at the very least revised.
Under the new rules, the mayor can in fact allow certain work to go ahead under extreme circumstances, or if it is deemed to be in the best interest of the island's population.
Environmentalists on the island welcomed the move. "The anti-noise ordinance is extremely interesting," says Francesco Emilio Borrelli, regional representative for the Greens. "It could be used as a model for all the cities in the area." Still, Borrelli says the Capri regulations don't go far enough, noting that there is no mention of muffling the island's biggest source of noise pollution: the local power plant.