The Arma dei Carabinieri, an Italian police force, is known for handling high-profile criminals such as the mafia. However, its tasks are much broader, and also embrace the protection of citizens also on the environmental level. Today, the daily battle of the carabinieri finds a precious ally.
For almost five years the headquarters of the CUFA Command of the Carabinieri in the center of Rome houses several beehives. The api they help the Carabinieri to monitor the environment as "informer insects". Monitoring, in a test radius of about 2 kilometers, is a little gem that could bring great results if extended.
The idea of carrying out 'environmental biomonitoring' using bees, sentinels of excellence, did not come from the Italian carabinieri, but comes from afar. In the Bel Paese it was introduced even in the 90s, the private or associative sector has already resorted to it with interesting projects (as this, very important, of Aspromiele).
According to the Lieutenant. With the. Giancarlo Papitto of the Carabinieri Forestry and Environment Unit Command, the bees help them "to collect useful information, not normally available, on atmospheric pollutants that may be present in urban areas, such as dioxins and other substances".
The curious (and precious) activity of bees will not only make us better understand the state of our environment. Their 'reports' will help improve life in cities and influence policy choices to improve our health.
For this reason, the Carabinieri have just received a loan of 500.000 euros, which will help continue the program of 'collaboration' with bees and extend it to other cities beyond the capital.
"Ours could become the first pilot case," says Papitto, "and what has been achieved here could be replicated in the rest of Europe."
Waiting to see groups of gendarmes or Bundespolizei bees at work, good job to the Italian ones :)