What Paris is doing to tackle its rat invasion (...and how it's going so far)

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What Paris is doing to tackle its rat invasion (...and how it's going so far)
Photo: AFP

Paris launched its fight against its 3.8 million-strong rat population in January. Here's a look at what that involves and how it's going so far.


Rats are believed to easily outnumber Parisians in the city, with their numbers increasing all the time.
They've been known to pop up in government buildings, scare unsuspecting rubbish collectors out of their skin and they've caused the closure of parks and gardens in the French capital. 
But in January, the French government launched a €1.7 million anti-rat campaign to cut back on the meddlesome rodents and on Sunday the results of its first assessment saw the light of day. 
Here's a look at what has been done and how it's going so far.
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  • Anti-rat operations: A total of 4,950 anti-rat operations have taken place between January 2018 and July 2018 compared to 1,700 last year. This saw 200 parks and 600 buildings treated against rats.
  • 140 people have been fined for "compulsively feeding" the rodents -- more than three times the number at this point last year.
  • 327 trash cans have been replaced by airtight containers.
  • Covers have been placed on manholes to try and prevent rats from accessing the streets via the sewers.
  • Several kinds of rat poisons have been tested.
  • Mayor of the 17th arrondissement Geoffroy Boulard made a visit to New York for tips on how to get the French capital's rat problem under control.

While the City has claimed that the rat invasion has been contained as a result of the measure, others -- including Boulard -- say more needs to be done.

"The situation has got worse," Boulard told the French press.

"Creches have had to close in my district because of the very pronounced infestation that made it impossible to keep them open," he said, adding that schools in his district had also reported the presence of rats.

Boulard has criticised the City of Paris, saying that they left it too late to react to the rat problem. 

And there are others on his side. 

"I am delighted that Geoffroy Boulard went to New York to help us fight against the rats," said Mao Peninou, an MP for French President Emmanuel Macron's La Republique en Marche party who is in charge of cleanliness at Paris City Hall. 
The mayor returned from his working holiday with samples of new revolutionary American products to eradicate rats, including cubes releasing dry ice capable of asphyxiating pests in their burrows.
However not everyone in the French capital is in favour of getting rid of the rats.
In fact, an online petition denouncing the "genocide of the rats" and calling for an end to the exterminations has garnered 26,000 signatures. 

Spot a rat: Real-time map aims to plot Paris rodent sightingsPhoto: AFP


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