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.
— Ouest-France (@OuestFrance) April 25, 2016
— stanfé (@PlessisStanfe) April 25, 2016
— Bleu Breizh Izel (@Francebleubzh) April 25, 2016