Marseille beaches covered in waste after storms drag rubbish into sea

Yesterday’s heavy rain caused large amounts of waste and rubbish to be carried away, as it had been left on the streets due to the ongoing bin worker strike

5 October 2021
 A traffic sign stands in a flooded road in France

More than three to four months of rain fell overnight in some areas, causing severe flooding and some people required evacuation from their homes (Image for illustration only) Pic: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock

By Hannah Thompson

Beaches and streets in Marseille have been left strewn with rubbish after storms hit the Bouches-du-Rhône last night (October 4), compounding the long-standing bin collector strike.

Rubbish collectors have been on strike in the city for the past few weeks. This meant that in some areas, the bad weather carried weeks worth of rubbish to flow down the streets, and in some places, into the sea.

Some beaches are now covered in plastic, bags and drinks cans; while in many streets, the drains are clogged with rubbish, stopping the excess water from draining away.

Vehicles and buses were also carried along roads due to the floods and mud, and metro stations also reported leaks and flooding.

Storm alerts lifted but situation still being monitored

All storm alerts were lifted across France this morning.

The Bouches-du-Rhône had previously been under a red alert, with 200-240mm of rain forecast to fall in some places. Surrounding areas were under orange alert.

A dozen schools in Marseille remain closed today, and several surrounding communes have also chosen to keep schools closed to “check the safety of their buildings”, Christophe Mirmand, prefect of Bouches-du-Rhône and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, told FranceInfo.

More than 200mm of rain fell on Monday night in some areas, with severe storms in Bouches-du-Rhône and Alpes-Maritimes.

Firefighters and emergency services were called to more than 1,500 interventions across the region overnight, with certain residents suffering mudslides and rising floods in their homes.

Around 30 people required evacuation from homes in Aubagne, Cassis, Allauch, and Aix-en-Provence. In Marseille, at least five homes in the Olives quarter were especially damaged due to a landslip, requiring 11 people to be evacuated and temporarily rehomed.

Mr Mirmand said: “It’s a situation that we will need to keep an eye on over the next few hours and days.”

For further information, Alpes-Maritimes residents can call the public information line 09 70 80 90 40.

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