Parisians sue City Hall as streets turn into ‘public bin’

A group of irate residents in northern Paris are suing the city authorities and the state for €10,000 each after growing fed up with the dirty state of their streets, that they describe as a "veritable hell".

Parisians sue City Hall as streets turn into 'public bin'
Photo: Facebook/La Vie Dejean
The streets of Paris are hardly known for their pristine cleanliness and some areas are distinctly worse than others.
Residents in the Chateau Rouge area of northern Paris are suing the City Hall in a bid to force them to clean up their streets.
Their decision to take legal action comes as a result of months of inaction from the Paris council in response to their complaints about the unacceptable levels of rubbish being dumped on their road each night, by illegal market sellers. 

Château Rouge is an area in the eighteenth arrondissement, one of the northern parts of Paris. It has become in recent years a hotspot for people selling pirate DVDs, electrical equipment and knock-off cosmetic products.  

The angry residents of Rue Dejean have set up an association called “La Vie Dejean”. They upload pictures and videos to their Facebook page to attest to their neighbourhood having become a “public bin”.

“It's a real disgrace, what is happening at Chateau Rouge,” said one resident, while another resident described it as a “state of asphyxia”.

The group's president Christine Soufflet described the conditions as a “veritable hell”.
She said “the problem with the street vendors seems to be the very last item on the agenda of the authorities.
“We decided to take the matter to court because we believe that the state is not living up to its responsibilities,” she told France 24's Observers.
The lack of police support seems particularly galling to them given that in 2012, Manuel Valls named the area a “priority security zone”.
Any attempts made by the residents to confront the sellers about their actions have been received with aggressive and an often violent response, they say.
They state that the daily presence of the sellers causes: constant congestion of the footpaths, an increasingly aggressive environment and an “unspeakable state of filth”.
Police have began visiting the area in the afternoon but residents who have posted comments on the Facebook page say their efforts are pointless.
“They not do anything to solve the problem because they do not want it to move elsewhere. So, bad luck for us, I don’t have any hope anymore…” said one commenter.
The story of the residents' misery has emerged just a few months after Town Hall chiefs announced a grand plan to turn Paris into a ‘model of cleanliness’. 



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Garbage island: Corsican officials block rubbish dump as waste overflows

No rubbish incinerator on France’s so-called 'island of beauty' means more than 60,000 tonnes of waste is being dumped underground every year, a catastrophic scenario for some alarmed local officials.

Garbage island: Corsican officials block rubbish dump as waste overflows
Photos: AFP

One of only two waste landfills in Corsica has been partially blocked since Monday morning as part of an initiative by local elected officials who are calling for comprehensive long-term solutions to the repellent issue of waste disposal on the island.

For the past three years, Prunelli di Fium'Orbu rubbish landfill in central Corsica has increased its capacity from 43,000 to 60,000 tonnes per year.

The local municipality is up in arms about the rise, arguing that the dumpsite is way over full capacity, and is therefore only allowing rubbish lorries from their community to dump waste at the site.

“We’ve reached 40,000 tonnes already this year, we can only bury a further 3,000 tonnes,” Prunelli di Fium'Orbu mayor Pierre Siméon de Buochberg is quoted as saying by French magazine l’Express.

The situation at the Viggianello dumpsite in the south of the island is just as alarming, spurring their municipality to also carry out a blockade earlier this year.

A proposal to dig deeper into the ground to make room for a further 223,500 tonnes of waste has been met by reluctance on the part of local residents and elected representatives.

But Gilles Simeoni, president of Corsica’s executive council, called on Monday for the 60,000 tonnes a year limit be kept for an additional three years, whilst waving a plan to allegedly reduce buried waste by 60 percent by 2021.

“There will be a transitional period of three years when the production of waste from Corsica will be greater than the island’s landfill capacity,” Simeoni said.

“We are therefore obliged to ask staff at the two landfills to put in the extra effort pending alternative solutions.”

Before lifting the blockade, Prunelli di Fium'Orbu’s mayor demanded “strong guarantees” vis-à-vis the change to waste disposal as well as “investment in road development, digital and health” in the municipality.

The lack of a rubbish incinerator and the fact that Corsica’s only two landfill sites are almost permanently operating at full capacity has turned the waste management crisis into one of the Mediterranean island’s biggest problems.

In 2017, Corsica generated 450 tonnes of residual waste per day during the low season (February) and 770 tonnes in high season (August). That’s according to Syvadec, the public body that treats waste on the island. 

Up to 26 percent of Corsican households’ waste is sorted in Corsica (59,013 tonnes per year) and 74 percent is buried directly underground without any sorting, (163,765 tonnes per year).

In 2015, Corsica’s biggest dumpsite in Tallone (Haute-Corse) was closed after a vertical extension of the landfill was refused.

In March 2017, another site in Vico in the south, which took 30,000 tonnes per year was also closed, having reached its threshold capacity of 115,000 tonnes (an extension project was also blocked).

According to Simeoni, Corsicans have inherited 20 years “of mismanagement and little choice, which have been detrimental to the general public interest and benefited instead private sources.”