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Historical pollution is a problem of global significance which has tragically emerged—in different times and forms—in a number of industrial contexts. From a criminological point of view, this phenomenon, despite its variable geometry, is characterized by recurrent features. In brief, it is—wholly or partially—the result of industrial outflows of polluting substances which took place in the past or were protracted over time, usually in line with the practice followed at the time of the facts. The nature of this environmental damage makes this phenomenon different from that of one single catastrophic polluting event with historical effects. This latter aspect triggers the need for specific legal answers. In this regard, comparative analysis highlights that in several countries the main responses to historical pollution are based on a variety of compensatory and reparatory measures belonging to civil or administrative law. To the contrary, criminal law plays a rather residual and supplementary role, normally limited to situations in which the contamination is recent or still ongoing. By way of exception, only in Italy is it possible to identify a long list of judgments issued by criminal courts in cases of historical pollution, and many of these have encountered difficulties in assessing criminal liability have been critically analyzed by scholar.
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- Preventing and Sanctioning Historical Pollution Beyond Criminal Law: An Introduction
- Chapter 1
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