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Environmental Harms at the Border: The Case of Lampedusa

Soliman, Francesca



In this paper I examine authorities’ management of migrant boats on the island of Lampedusa, Italy, as an example of environmental border harm. A danger to trawlers, sunken wrecks are also hazardous to the environment, with pollutants such as oil and fuel seeping into the sea. Migrant boats that reach the island, whether independently or towed by rescuers, are left to accumulate in the harbour and eventually break up, scattering debris in bad weather. When boats are uplifted onto land, they are amassed in large dumps, leaking pollutants into the soil. Periodically, the resulting environmental crises trigger emergency tendering processes for the disposal of the boats, which allow for the environmental protections normally required in public bidding to be suspended for the sake of expediency. The disposal of migrant boats thus relies on a pattern of manufactured environmental emergencies, consistent with the intrinsically crisis-based management of the border itself.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 4, 2023
Online Publication Date Mar 16, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Mar 17, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 17, 2023
Print ISSN 1205-8629
Electronic ISSN 1572-9877
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Pages 725-741
Public URL


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