The rooftop of Italy’s Carabinieri police force headquarters in Rome is home to beehives that are helping the police fight pollution in the city.

Source: euronews/Youtube

In 2018, the headquarters began to home beehives on their rooftop, but not for honey. One of the main duties of the police force is to monitor the environment, and now they’re using bees as biodiversity indicators to help with this, according to Lieutenant Col. Giancarlo Papitto, from the Carabinieri’s Forestry and Environment Unit Command. The force monitors an area that is 1.5-2km (1 mile to 1.25 miles) in size.

“That helps us to can gather useful information, which isn’t normally available, about the atmospheric pollutants that might be present in urban areas, such as dioxins and other substances,” the Lieutenant explained.

The bees help Italian law enforcement better understand the state of the environment. General Pietro Antonio Marzo told Euronews that the project is helping provide important information about air pollution levels.

“This will allow us to have a fuller picture of the situation and help improve to urban living and will affect political decisions in a way that will improve the quality of life in our cities and the health of our citizens,” Marzo said.

When asked why they would do this in the city and not the countryside, the President of Italy’s Apiculture Federation, Raffaele Cirone, said that the urban areas have something even more special to offer.

“Cities are naturally rich in biodiversity. If you take balconies, for example, where so many different plants are being taken care of, or gardens and green urban areas, these are filled with species that appeal to bees. Both the nectar and the pollen that is being produced in Rome tell us that the city has a great variety of flowers,” Cirone said.

Officials have invested 500,000 euros to extend the project and bring it to other cities around the country. They hope to become a leader in projects like these and hope those other cities around the world will follow. What an amazing way to help save the bees while also fighting climate change!

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