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Donkey rubbish collectors are a hit

The people of the Île d'Oléron have found an innovative new way to collect rubbish

31 July 2017
By Carmen Cracknell

Compared to the labour donkeys endure in some places, it is easy work.

They accompany rubbish collectors who pick up waste from the ground with tongs, and it is their job to saddle a rubbish bin where the waste is deposited.

But the load is light. "Most of the time, on the beaches, we collect rubbish that comes from fishing or oyster farming, which is brought back by the sea due to the high tides. Otherwise the typical waste on the beach is cigarette butts,” Nicolas Séguier of ‘The Donkeys of Oléron’ told France 3.

Since 2012 donkeys have been used to clean up 100km of beaches on the island.

This type of cleaning is usually done with a 4x4, but as coastal service worker Edith Pavan says, "contrary to mechanised cleaning, this doesn’t destabilise the environment or upset the sand dunes”.

"The donkeys have been a real hit with children, families and tourists," says Nicolas Séguier.

The Donkeys of Oléron offers donkey tours around the island and the chance for tourists to take part in beach cleaning expeditions. 

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