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Bad weather: tons of waste dumped in the sea in Marseille


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Consequences of torrential rains, tons of waste were carted Tuesday in Marseille on the beaches and at sea. Elected officials of the town hall denounced an “ecocide”, pointing to the responsibility of the metropolis, in charge of cleanliness.

With the violent weather and the strike of the garbage collectors in Marseille, where the garbage cans piled up in the streets for a week, hundreds of tons of waste were directly discharged, Tuesday, October 5, in the sea.

On the beach at L’escale Borély, in the south of the city, thousands of cans littered the sand. On the mounds of plastic, rubble and tires dumped by the torrential rains, voluntary residents have activated, even picking up a few dead rats. “It is frequent in Marseille, every year, at the same period, we have stranded waste with the rains, but there, in addition, there was a strike by garbage collectors, mountains of waste everywhere, got wind, the bags were gutted … “, explained Isabelle Poitou, biologist at the head of the MerTerre association.

“Horror pictures”

Between Sunday and Monday, “the equivalent of several months of rain” fell on Marseille, according to Météo-France. The Huveaune river, in flood, overflowed its bed and carried away piles of rubbish, including gas bottles, refrigerators, auto parts … “Horror images”, denounced Tuesday the Deputy Mayor of Marseille for the Environment, Christine Juste, in front of the press: “We have been working to change the image of Marseille for a year (…) and there it is damaged.”

At the origin of the disaster, according to her colleague Mathilde Chaboche, assistant to Urbanism, “a completely anachronistic land management policy”. Under the previous terms of office, she accuses, “we continued to pour concrete everywhere”, forgetting “completely that nature needed space where water could flow”. It is also “a question of pipes”, she added, Marseille sorely lacking “of a rainwater evacuation network”.

The metropolis in charge

Municipal officials accuse the metropolis, in charge of cleanliness and waste management, of not having been able to anticipate this admittedly exceptional but predictable meteorological episode, by having garbage collected urgently during the weekend due to the strike , although not all agents have returned to work.

“The second city in France must recover its skills for both cleanliness, roads and waste,” says Christine Juste, believing that unlike other metropolises in France, that of Aix-Marseille-Provence has not “a real metropolitan project”.

“To use a natural disaster to make the policy of gutter, it is unworthy of responsible elected officials”, answered the elected representatives of the right-wing majority in the metropolis in a press release. On Twitter, Martine Vassal, LR president of the metropolis, assured, with supporting photos, that the agents were “at work” and were cleaning the beaches.

Far from controversy, on the beaches, associations and residents continued to bustle Tuesday, fearing the mistral announced in the days to come which could bring back other waste. “Because of the wind and the waves, the cleaning will have to last several days and I call on all good will to swell the ranks of the associative volunteers because each waste collected counts”, asked the mayor of the 6e and 8e arrondissements Pierre Benarroche.

At sea, the Marseille firefighters have initiated aerial surveillance of the coasts to identify pollution and organize their collection. Many marine protected areas are located off Marseille, especially in the Calanques National Park, the most visited in France, at the gates of the city.

With AFP


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