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Italian Town Outraged by Mayor's 'Anti-Pizza' Air Pollution Regulations

Air pollution is a major problem in the region.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Italians don't mess around when it comes to pizza. A small-town mayor in the Neapolitan region — known far and wide for producing what many deem the world's best pizza — is facing backlash from his constituents after a crackdown on air pollution that would affect wood-fired pizza ovens, the New York Times reports.

In late December, San Vitaliano mayor Antonio Falcone issued a decree that "businesses involved in baking and catering, such as pizzerias, are forbidden from using biomass fuels (wood, wood chips, pellets, charcoal, etc) for cooking food in appliances such as open and closed ovens." This didn't sit too well with many of the town's citizens, and the mayor was subsequently giving a good lashing on social media; some even called for him to resign.

It's not like Falcone has some personal vendetta against pizzaiolos, though: As the Times points out, "Mr. Falcone was one of dozens of Italian mayors who adopted emergency measures last month after a prolonged dry spell repeatedly pushed air pollutants beyond legal limits." A recent study by the Italian government indicated that 30,000 Italians die each year due to air pollution.

Pizzerias have until the end of February to get the appropriate filtration systems in place, otherwise they risk being shut down. Thankfully, it seems most, if not all, of the town's pizzerias are already equipped with them — but it seems it's the principle of the matter that's causing outrage. "Shocking, it’s so ridiculous. They don’t want us to make pizza? We make about 34 pizzas a day, how do they think we are responsible for the pollution problems around here?" a pizzeria owner told the local newspaper.

In Beijing, one restaurant attempted to combat the city's infamous smog problem by charging diners a clean air fee. Meanwhile, some enterprising bars offer cheaper beer on days that the smog is extra-bad.

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