" />

Protesters set fire to heaps of garbage in Naples and blocked main roads with trash after Italian President Giorgio Napolitano stepped into the crisis and said he was alarmed by conditions in the southern city.

Fire fighters tackled around 65 garbage fires overnight in and around Italy's third biggest city, where huge piles of waste around two metres high were set alight.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has repeatedly pledged to end a chronic garbage crisis that has dragged on for years but mountains of stinking trash are again festering in hot summer temperatures and waste dumps are overflowing.

Napolitano, who visited the city on June 13, put pressure on Berlusconi's government to take action.

"It's absolutely essential and urgent to intervene in the acute and alarming deterioration of the waste crisis in Naples," Napolitano told the local Il Mattino newspaper.

He said he had expressed concern to Berlusconi that the cabinet had failed to approve a decree allowing waste to be transported to other regions.

Al Jazeera's Claudio Lavanga reports from Naples.

Source: Al Jazeera