Anne Hidalgo’s new cleaning machines to scrub up Paris

The new cleaning machines will begin operating from June this year

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has presented a fleet of new washing and vacuum “engines” to the streets of the capital, as part of her “plan to reinforce cleanliness”.

The machines, which are bright green cabins with large glass panels and a driver in the front, will begin operating from June this year, explains news source 20 Minutes.

News of the machines comes just weeks after Paris was criticised for its rat infestation problem, after a council worker filmed a rubbish skip on the banks of the Seine between the Musee d’Orsay and the Pont Royal (VII arrondissement) overflowing with rats, prompting fierce debate over the capital’s ongoing rodent issue.

“This is one of the most touristy areas of the city,” a man in the video explained, “And it has become known for being overrun with rats.”

At the time, Hidalgo sought to reassure Parisians that the Mairie was “engaged in the issue”, but also released a statement saying: “Cleanliness is everyone’s job. It takes resources, but there is also a civic responsibility there, especially [when it comes to] not leaving food all over the place.”

In 2017, the council earmarked €1.5 million to fight against rats and poor cleanliness, and reportedly undertook 1,800 “deratisation” operations. This was said to include closing parks, installing grates and other barriers under drain pipes, laying traps in public places, and installing proper bins instead of simple plastic bags.

As for the new cleaning machines, the plan is to have 170 of them on the streets by the end of the year.

The majority of them run on natural gas, with 25 using a hybrid electric system. Each promises to wash, scrub, dry, and hoover the streets, across all arrondissements.

The mayor’s office has already allocated a further €32 million to secure the full fleet of 170 machines through 2018.

“These machines are more economical, more efficient, more manoeuvrable, less polluting, and less noisy,” explains Karim Meherhera, the manager of cleanliness overseeing the engines, which have been dubbed “the new method of cleaning”.

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