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ENVIRONMENT

French statues get anti-pollution masks in clean air protest

Activists put masks on statues in Paris and other French cities on Saturday to highlight what they say is France's failure to tackle air pollution.

French statues get anti-pollution masks in clean air protest
Photo: AFP

The protest coincided with a deadline for France to present a plan rectifying its shortcomings on air quality to the European Commission.

In a joint statement, environmental and anti-air pollution groups including France Nature Environment, ANV-COP 21, the Federation of Bicycle Users and Greenpeace, called for a clean air transport policy.

In February 2017, the EU ordered five member countries including France, Britain and Germany to tighten controls on smog-causing car pollution or risk being sent to the top European court.

The commission has said that “persistently high” levels of nitrogen dioxide caused 70,000 premature deaths in Europe in 2013, three times the number of deaths by road traffic accidents in the same year.

READ ALSO: France fails to meet targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions

ENVIRONMENT

Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Across south west France trapping campaigns have begun in an attempt to control the numbers of dangerous Asian hornets.

Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Trapping campaigns are organised annually at this time of year, as the weather begins to get warmer and queens begin to emerge from hibernation.

And the Charente-Maritime town of Royan Atlantique, on France’s west coast, is leading the way, as the below video shows.

Experts say that now is the time to begin using the traps, as catching queen hornets in the process of building their nests will lead to far fewer insects later in the year. 

Some 2,000 traps are installed in and around Royan this year, including 300 that were distributed to householders in the week of Valentine’s Day. 

Once installed, the traps can capture several dozen insects at a time.

In order to capture a maximum of hornet queens, traps should be installed between mid-February and mid-May. Especially since during this period, these predators end up coming out of their hibernation.

It is believed Asian hornets arrived in France around 2004. They have now spread nationwide.

Although their venom is not more powerful than that of normal bees or wasps, they are known to be more aggressive towards humans, and their stings can cause anaphylactic shock in allergic people.

The hornets also damage beehives and kill bees, damaging honey stocks and destroying the native ecosystem.

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