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biodistrict of Lake Bolsena

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A 'Bio-district' in Italy describes an area where the environment is protected. Levels of protection are set out in guidelines which are agreed amongst the local governments within the area covered by the Bio-district. These guidelines cover all aspects of the environment, starting from organic based agricultural practice, respect for the soil, water and air treatment, waste management, to tourism, and commerce. Often a Bio-district will create a special 'mark' which conforming businesses can use on their products and services as a sign of respect and quality. However, agreement and conformity can be difficult, and without any legal foundation it is much harder for any Bio-district to have a meaningful impact on the environment it seeks to protect. Once agreement has been reached, the Bio-distretto also needs to ensure that its rules are being respected by those who participate, with effective policing of compliance.

There are 32 official 'Bio-districts' all over Italy. The most recent initiative is the creation of a Biodistrict around Lake Bolsena, an area of extreme fragility due to years of farming with chemical fertilisers and pesticides, all of which end up been washed into the lake. As a consequence the lake is now on the border of being eutrophised, which will effectively mean that it's ecosystem will be almost negligible. This has already happened to the Lago di Vico, which has no drinking water suitable for human consumption as a result of the chemical used in the monocultural hazelnut industry.

Lake Bolsena seen from Marta


The new and exciting initiative for the Biodistrict of the Lake of Bolsena will include all the municipalities that border the lake, as well as others who fall near or within the hydrological and imbriferal water basins. In fact, it may well become the largest Biodistrict in Italy. This initiative would be a wonderful first step for regenerating the fragility of the eco-system around the lake, as well as a welcome boost for farmers that have been struggling to maintain their organic practice without support either from the regional government of Lazio, or the agricultural department of the EU, who have proposed a new CAP that seems to favour large industrial agricultural practices.

A new Biodistrict around the lake of Bolsena must start with an Ethos which will enable citizens to comprehend that the Biodistrict can have not only economic benefits, but also build a community that puts the environment first, with better overall health. This means promoting alternative agricultural practises, moving towards a circular economy, and preserving biodiversity which has been severely reduced in recent years. It is a fantastic opportunity for Tuscia, and one where everyone can benefit.

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