The “Bosco delle Querce” or “Oak Forest” is situated between the towns of Seveso and Meda. The forest covers an area of 43 acres, 35 belonging to the Council of Seveso, 8 to the Council of Meda. It is located at 210 meters above the sea level in the alluvial valley of the river Seveso. The Certesa creek runs through it, coming from the west and flowing into the river Seveso. The Forest was created in 1983. Works actually began in 1984 and lasted two years. Bosco delle Querce covers an area (A Zone) which was polluted after a toxic “cloud”, carrying a miscellanea of toxic particles, including one known as dioxin (2,3,7,8 TCDD), came out of the Icmesa chemical plant, on the 10th of July, 1976.
The area was entirely reclaimed by demolishing existing buildings and removing the dirt surface a few inches into the ground. This decision was taken after controversial debate.
The decision to create a forest after the removal of the ground surface, came as the result of popular movements that rose in Seveso in the aftermath of the accident. It was also upheld by the qualified and wise opinion of professor Gian Antonio Lanzani, an expert in bio-chemistry, and a resident at the time.
Today the Forest is a symbolic place: it portrays the struggle against pollution, the toil to recover a seriously compromised environment and the commitment to keep the memory of the disaster alive. It is a token of the ability to react with determination, solidarity and sense of responsibility to an environmental damage caused by superficiality and indifference.
The Forest is a living place, with a new story to tell. Along its manicured paths you will find a narration, unwinding memories of a disaster that deeply affected the environment as much as the lives of the men and women living in the area at the time. The place has been restored thanks to the deep affection of the people for their land, local traditions and life style.