HomeSafetyRain of concrete on the historic Bolognese rice field. #Clean shovels 

Rain of concrete on the historic Bolognese rice field. #Clean shovels 

A 'concrete bomb' could hit the last historic paddy field in the Bologna area. The threat comes from the project to build a gigantic logistics hub.

Citizens and environmentalists are protesting, including through a petition, to avert the disaster. The self-styled champions of farmers - Coldiretti (in primis) - instead applaud the initiative, alongside the administrators of public affairs. #Clean shovels.

Malalbergo, the ancient paddy field in the Bolognese area

An agricultural area of great natural value, it houses the last paddy field in the Bolognese area, in Malalbergo, which dates back to the first half of the last century. From the days when the embankments were dug by hand to the present day, the last rice harvest dates back to October 2020.

The area - subject to landscape constraints as a wetland - is recognized as a complex ecological node, pursuant to the so-called habitat directive. And she is therefore protected, which one bulwark of biodiversity, in the context of the Natura 2000 network. (1)

Malalbergo - Altedo, the 'strategic' position

The environmental strategy however, it risks giving way to the economic one, due to the position of the paddy field. Which is located on the edge of the Altedo tollbooth, a hamlet of Malalbergo, on the A13 motorway. And this is how the prospect of an immense pour of concrete on 73 hectares of agricultural land stimulates private real estate interests.

The Metropolitan City of Bologna and the Municipality of Malalbergo, in turn, aspire to the generous income that local administrations can derive from the gigantic ecocide. And they try to appease the citizens with the promise of the golden pill, 1500 hypothetical new jobs.

All at the service of road transport

No connection it exists, nor was it foreseen, with the railway infrastructure. The new logistics hub will therefore stimulate road transport, motorway traffic congestion, air pollution. And the natural expanse in front of the houses, in the hamlet of Pegola in Malalbergo, will be bombarded with concrete.

The concrete bomb of 516 thousand square meters (about 34 times Piazza del Duomo in Milan) on 73 hectares of wetland such as the historic paddy field involves a radical upheaval of the ecosystem. With dramatic consequences on the microclimate and hydrogeological balances, as well as the extermination of flora and fauna. Can anyone believe that the construction of a cycle path and the planting of trees around the endless expanse of concrete can in any way 'compensate' for environmental damage?

Concrete bomb and water bombs

'One hectare of non-urbanized land, that is, not built, it can retain water from 10 to 25% of its volume (…). Cementing reduces the mitigative response that the soil possesses and one is less able to react to climatic events (= resilience is lost). 

The so-called water bombs therefore they have precursors on the territory that we could call, using the same language, 'concrete bombs'. Where the soil is "free", in most cases it continues to be able to store the rainwater that arrives in one stroke and returns it slowly, rendering the effects harmless'. 

Restructuring instead of building

'This service, which is fundamental for the balance in the ecosystem, has been carried out naturally for millions of years. If we look at it with the parameters of the XNUMXst century, this drainage has made it possible to avoid flooding, to save lives, houses, businesses, and to save money.

This is also one of the valid reasons to orient the next urban planning solely and exclusively to deal with what already exists or with the soil already compromised and therefore already waterproofed (abandoned areas, unused or underused volumes, etc.) '. (2)

The theory is well known but the practice escapes. Even in areas where floods have already caused enormous damage, as happened a few kilometers away - in the Lower Bologna area - twice in 2019 alone.

SIS SpA, Ferrara reclamation, CAI SpA alias Federconsortia 2

'The affected area is private property and the property must do business' (Mauro Tonello, Italian Sementì Society, SIS SpA. See notes 3,4). The land in fact belongs to Società Italiana Sementì, SIS SpA. And the right to 'do business' claimed by its president Mauro Tonello - former president of Coldiretti Emilia-Romagna and v. President of national Coldiretti - consists in selling the Italian agricultural land to French holding APRC, of ​​Lyon.

Combination, the consolidated financial statements of BF (Bonifiche Ferraresi) SpA find refreshment thanks to the assets of its subsidiary SIS SpA. Federico Vecchioni, among other things, is the CEO of both. And the sale of the ancient rice fields of Malalbergo will allow BF SpA to compensate for operations that are not equally successful, such as the fateful CAI (Consorzi Agrari d'Italia) SpA, alias Federconsorzi 2. Once again at the expense of others, in this case of the community which risks losing an agricultural area of ​​great natural value.

Coldiretti, CIA and the cement rice festival

Coldiretti's magic circleca va sans dire, celebrates the festival of cement rice. Thus Valentina Borghi - president of Coldiretti Bologna and vice president of Coldiretti Emilia-Romagna, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the Consorzio Agrario Emilia, who joined the CAI SpA operations and CAI Real Estate Ltd. - decrees ecocide as necessary, with all due respect to biodiversity.

'From the agricultural point of view, biodiversity is exhausted; it is counted on the fact that the environmental impact of the project is calculated despite the land consumption, based on the indications of the New Green Deal. Italy in Europe is the nation with the lowest environmental impact due to its sensitivity towards the environment; and atmospheric emissions will be completely eliminated '. (4)

The CIA itself (Italian Confederation of Farmers), unexpectedly, decides to participate in the cement festival. Thus his Marco Bergami, president in Bologna, comes to affirm that 'as CIA farmers have espoused the cause of zero land use but are also aware that the world is moving forward and changing'. (4) Could it be true?

Rhine reclamation consortium, conflicts of interest and flood risk

The Rhine reclamation consortium, combination, is chaired by the same Valentina Borghi who presides over Coldiretti Bologna. That is to say that Coldiretti has direct control over the body that oversees the management of the reclamation canals and could be called upon to express the 'hydraulic opinion' on the impact of the concrete bomb on the paddy field. (5) The umpteenth conflict of interests of the Palazzo Rospigliosi school.

'The water drainage system it was completed in the 30s, when the territory was not yet so heavily urbanized. In fact, on the one hand, concrete takes away space from the water to be absorbed by the fields, on the other hand it increases its speed, especially in a context in which the rise in temperatures makes the melting of the snows of the Apennines more rapid. The consequence is that the basins of rivers and streams become saturated more quickly and the flow rate of the canals connected to them is no longer sufficient to accommodate large masses of water. The real risk is therefore that of floods' (Alessandra Furlani, Rhineland reclamation consortium. See note 6)

No to cement on ancient rice fields, petition

Our children they need nature and soil, to be recovered through theagroecology. Certainly not of infinite expanses of concrete, much less in the service of road transport.

The petition aimed at safeguarding the historic rice field of Malalbergo - che Great Italian Food Trade supports and promotes - can be subscribed here. Institutions must abandon the ecocidal project.

Spades Clean, for real.

Marta Strinati and Dario Dongo

The cover is taken from Fujiko City Radio


(1) See

(2) Ispra (2016). Land consumption, territorial dynamics and ecosystem services. See paragraph 47, on

(3) See TG minute 10

(4) Metropolitan City of Bologna. Public audience 17.2.21

(5) See Site of the Rhine reclamation consortium: The hydraulic opinion is a certificate of conformity or non-conformity with respect to what is established by the PSAI of the Authority of Basin of the Rhine (Art. 20) or by LR 4 of 2007 (Art. 4). This certificate must be requested if works that affect the hydraulic regime of the reclamation canals have to be carried out, in relation to what is established by the aforementioned reference legislation. The hydraulic opinion must be requested in the event that: 1) Specific information is needed in relation to a future concession (sizing of bridges or drains, direct drains / in the drainage canal of rainwater from green areas of future urbanization or waterproofing); 2) Indirect discharges (into the sewer system or into private ditches) of rainwater or wastewater, deriving from existing buildings or on areas of new urbanization (in compliance with the above regulations) must be carried out.

(6) Fujiko City Radio, report on the Altedo rice field threatened by concrete. V.

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Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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