A pathogen which is destroying olive groves that are historic in Puglia, southern Italy, threatens to achieve the rest of Europe and is marching north. Yet Italian authorities last year failed to monitor the infection’s spread, and didn’t follow containment programs agreed together with the European Commission, in accordance with an audit released last week by the commission. Scientists in the area aren’t amazed by the criticism: their initiatives to quit the infection have already been repeatedly hampered within the past four years, because they first suspected the disease was triggered by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa. The scenario is absurd, states plant pathologist Giovanni Martelli in the University of Bari in northern Puglia. “The authorities have constantly moved too slowly, when fast action was required,” he claims.
The pathogen, for which there isn’t any cure had never been observed in in Europe before it had been spotted in Puglia in 2013. Where it’s endemic, it arrived from the Americas. Researchers proven that it was creating olive fast drop syndrome (OQDS) in Puglia, but protesters challenged their findings. A nearby community prosecutor, prompted by environmentalists protesting regarding the felling of ancient olive-trees, even opened a legal investigation into whether scientists had really triggered the infection themselves.