AN ECO-ACTIVIST is walking 800km from Aix-en-Provence to Paris dragging a wheelie bin to raise awareness about roadside litter.
Hervé Pighiera is collecting all the litter he can reach as he goes by and weighs it and empties his bin at the end of each day – he plans to reveal the total at the end.
Mr Pighiera left on July 12 and aims to reach Paris in time for the Climate Conference being held from November 30 to December 11.
He said: “We most often find waste from products that are consumed or used in vehicles and are then thrown out of the window. This includes items such as glass and plastic bottles, food packaging, wipes and cigarette butts.”
He views walking as the most natural form of travelling and says it allows you to spot things you might otherwise miss.
Mr Pighiera said he has always been interested in geography and observed the problem of waste pollution during a trip to South America. He said: “They are consumers, as we are, but there are not enough bins and places to put the waste, so it ends up over the natural environment.”
Worried about the environmental legacy we are leaving for the next generation, he decided to take action back home in France.
Mr Pighiera is accompanied on his journey by friend Lola Orsoni, who drives beside him in a car carrying all the equipment he needs. They travel 15-20km each day.
“The first week was especially hard, but now I’ve managed to get into a rhythm of walking the long distances,” he said.
At the end of each day, they sort, weigh and index everything. When they reach Paris they plan to present their statistics to show how bad the problem is.
Mr Pighiera said they are yet to have a bad reaction. “We are all consumers, so everyone is aware of the importance of waste and litter and is affected by it.”
He added: “People don’t expect to see me walking along the side of the road with a bin. They realise that the mission is dangerous due to traffic risks, so they are always interested, asking questions about what we are doing and what we have found.
"I've been shocked by some things - like enormous bags full of nappies, or fridges, sofas, cars, illegal dumps... Nicer things included a 50 euro note and in the same place I found a Wii, a PlayStation2, a record player, a DVD player and a record holder shaped like the Eiffel Tower."
You can keep up with the journey by following his posts on the website unemarchepourlenvironnement.com.
Photo: Une marche pour l’environnement/Pascal Renald