Public stink as protest garbage keeps piling up on Paris streets

Europe  RFISusan Owensby
MAR 23, 2023 LISTEN
© RFI/Susan Owensby

Garbage keeps on piling up in the streets of Paris. On Monday the total amount was estimated at 9,300 tonnes. On Wednesday, an additional 200 tons hit the pavements. The reason: blockades of waste treatment centres around Paris.

According to radio station France Bleu Paris, some authorities requisitioned a hundred municipal garbage trucks and 30 private ones to collect waste in Paris's busiest areas, but it's not enough to deal with the estimated 3,000 tonnes of waste produced every day.

The four waste treatment sites located around Paris (Issy les Moulineaux, Saint-Ouen, Ivry sur-Seine and Romainville) are either blocked or under maintenance.

Even if the collection trucks are filling up, unloading and waste treatment remains difficult, if not impossible.

The situation is unlikely to improve quickly. Employees of the Ivry incineration plant announced that they will continue their strike until Monday, and the private companies Derichebourg Polyreva, Derichebourg, Sepur and Urbaser could join the movement, according to the Parisien newspaper.

Regal visit

French public sector trade unionists have warned they will not provide red carpets during the visit of Britain's King Charles III to Paris next week, but non-striking workers are expected to roll them out. 

The CGT union representing staff at the National Furniture service, which is responsible for manufacturing and maintaining red carpets, among other items, said Wednesday they would strike during the sovereign's trip to France from Sunday.

The union said its members would no longer provide "furnishings, red carpets or flag services."

“It's very bad timing," said Paris-based writer Stephen Clarke, author of “Elizabeth II, Queen of Laughs”.

"Normally the French would welcome a British king. But in this moment, people protesting are on high alert for any sign of privilege and wealth.”

With the piles of uncollected garbage lining the French capital's boulevards, observers say the optics could not be worse – for both Charles and his host Macron.

(with wires)