Green news - December 2018
An update on environmental events and occurrences in France
Ice-free record at Pic du Midi
The Pic du Midi de Bigorre (Hautes-Pyrénées), the 2,877m high mountain peak and home to an astronomical observatory, was frost-free for a record 108 consecutive days from June 14 to the end of September.
Météo France said this is the first time since 1882 – the year when temperature measurements began – that the unenviable milestone has been passed. The previous iceless record was 77 days, in 1999.
Maximum temperatures in the Pyrenees could rise by up to 7.1 degrees by the end of the century, according to a scenario based on the current trend identified by by Climpy, a cross-border research project between France, Spain and Andorra.
Nice tops most polluted list
Nice in Alpes-Maritimes has come bottom in a poll of the most polluted cities in mainland France, according to a study conducted by L’Express newspaper.
For a year, from April 1 2017 to March 31, 2018, L’Express collected air quality data for the 100 largest French cities. Nice has ‘very mediocre air’ for a total of 67 days according to the ATMO index, which provides daily information on ambient air quality in major French cities.
Other cities from the Region Sud just behind Nice are Avignon (60 days), Marseille (57 days) and Aix-en-Provence (54 days).
“Pollution episodes are caused by high levels of ozone, linked to sunlight, or by high emissions of primary pollutants from industrial activity and road traffic,” explains Florence Péron, (air quality monitor) Airpaca’s manager in Nice.
Plastic cutlery banned by 2020
Having already banned in June the use of plastic straws and twizzle sticks, the French government has now voted to outlaw the use of single-use plastic cutlery and containers – meaning no more disposable knives and forks for your picnic.
“Let’s make sure we attack the next decade by moving away from this plastic dependency,” said MP François-Michel Lambert after the vote in the Assemblée Nationale. There will also be a ban on “food containers for cooking, heating and serving in plastic” by 2025.
Sea tyre ‘reef’ is an environmental failure
A ‘reef’ made of 25,000 old tyres aimed at rejuvenating wildlife off the coast Antibes in the 1980s has been removed from the Mediterranean over pollution fears.
The tyres were deposited with the agreement of local fisherman and regional authorities but by 2005 studies found that toxic heavy metals were being leaked into the sea. And local fish never took to their new home.
“We hoped (back in the 1980s) that we could restore aquatic life there, but it didn’t work,” the deputy mayor of Antibes, Eric Duplay said.
Périgueux crèches clean cleaner
In the latest move towards eco-crèches in France, 15 crèches in the town of Périgueux, Dordogne, have opted to use only cleaning products that have no potentially corrosive, allergenic or carcinogenic properties.
Instead, the 200 employees will use white vinegar and black soap as well as a detergent and a dishwashing product bearing the Ecocert label.
The move is aimed at protecting the health of both employees and pupils.