Latest: Rome begins infestation at Colosseum as city’s rat population grows to 7 million
NBS Webdesk

An undated picture of the Colosseum in Rome. Italy. — Twitter@CDNewsDispatch

The city of Rome has taken action to combat a rat infestation plaguing the vicinity of the Colosseum, prompted by tourists sharing images of rodents on social media.

The iconic tourist destination’s garbage collection leader, Sabrina Alfonsi, revealed that a “special intervention” was launched on Friday night and extended into the early hours of Saturday. This effort aims to ensure safe passage for visitors around the historically significant Colosseum, one of Italy’s most frequented tourist sites.

The cleanup operation is set to continue throughout the upcoming week, encompassing the clearing of green spaces surrounding the Colosseum, addressing drains that serve as common nesting grounds for the rodents, and deploying traps to mitigate the issue. 

Rome’s municipal government underscored the magnitude of the challenge, revealing the presence of approximately 7 million rats in the city, translating to 2.5 rats per resident.

Alfonsi attributed the surge in rodent activity to a combination of factors, including an influx of tourists to the Eternal City during the summer and a concurrent heatwave. The increase in litter provided an environment conducive to rat proliferation.

Notably, the city hall released images of cleanup personnel collecting discarded plastic bottles, beverage cans, and other debris against the backdrop of the illuminated Colosseum.

Rome has long contended with an ongoing waste management crisis, often witnessing trash piles accumulating on streets beside overflowing garbage bins. The situation poses challenges to maintaining a clean and hygienic urban environment.

Built two millennia ago, the Colosseum, once the grandest amphitheatre within the Roman empire, has witnessed a rich history that includes hosting gladiator combat, public executions, and animal hunts.

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