• France's news in English
Why are rivers in France turning fluorescent green?
Photo: Agents Environnement/Facebook

Why are rivers in France turning fluorescent green?

The Local · 25 Apr 2016, 14:27

Published: 25 Apr 2016 14:27 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
People across France have no doubt been bamboozled to notice their rivers turning fluorescent green in recent days. 
Indeed, rivers in at least 12 départements around the country have all fallen to the same mysterious fate.
The move, however, isn't some kind of pollution - it's the work of environmental workers in a bid to raise awareness about a lack of funding in their sector. 
"This action is an alarm signal," French environmental worker Patrick Chopin told Le Figaro newspaper.
"You can't say ecology is the priority of the country when we see that our resources are down 10 percent."
"We want to alert the public about the need to preserve and strengthen this public service," he added.
Yannick Pognart, Environmental Inspector at ONEMA, told the Local that they decided to color the rivers to draw attention to the lack of resources that these environmental groups have to carry out their missions.
“Right now, the environment is very à la mode, everyone knows the consequences and that it’s something very important,” Pognart told the Local.
“On the other hand, we have more and more missions and less and less means to accomplish these missions.”
The group calls on the minister of the environment to put in place a real environmental public service. 
“Today, the preservation of biodiversity rests on the shoulders of twenty government workers in each department,” said the group in a press release titled “Open Letter for the Defense of the Public Service of the Environment”.
“This new public service must be sufficiently endowed, in workforce and in budget (more than €200 million)."
So how did they achieve that brilliant green color exactly?
“We used a colorant called fluorescein that’s totally harmless,” said Pognart. “It’s to show the path pollution takes in the water. It’s a strong visual, but it’s completely safe. The fish don’t even notice.”
The dye is not toxic to marine life, noted the group, explaining that the dye is often used to trace the flow of water (but usually in smaller doses). 
But it sure does catch the eye, as these pictures below show.
Story continues below…





Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Homeless man does a runner from France's top restaurants
Photo: Prayitno/Flickr

"A man's gotta eat," he told police, after racking up gigantic bills in some of France's plushest restaurants.

Underwater museum hopes to make a splash in Marseille
A similar underwater museum piece by Jason deCaires Taylor. Photo: julie rohloff/Flickr

Don't forget your scuba gear...

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available