One of the many challenges after Covid-19 will be to re-examine the relationship between Humanity and Nature. The fight against plastic pollution is one component. Mayors are on the front line to act, especially since the expectations of their constituents on ecological matters are high. Alongside our French partner Initiatives for the Future of the Great Rivers and the Compagnie Nationale du Rhône, we called on candidates before the first round of local elections in France to take action by signing the charter “My territory is committed: rivers without plastic, protected ocean”. On the eve of the second round of the elections, we again challenged the newly elected mayors and candidates to join this initiative, more urgent and necessary than ever. The Charter has already gathered nearly 80 signatures.
Plastic, an environmental and health priority organized at a regional level
Single-use plastic made a strong comeback during the Covid-19 health crisis in many countries. Under the guise of hygiene, food security and economic recovery, lobbyists are pressuring to modify the limitations of the regulatory framework. The urgency of the crisis must be passed in order to sustainably combat human-caused damage to the environment and to link ecosystem health and human health.
Fighting against plastic pollution in rivers and streams is one of the global challenges to be met: 8 million tonnes of plastic are thrown into the ocean each year and 80% of plastic waste found at sea comes from land. The first results of the 2019 Microplastics Mission, carried out on board the schooner Tara, show that plastic is omnipresent in rivers, and already in the form of microplastics which accumulate pollutants before reaching the oceans.
Tara team collecting data in the Ebro © François Aurat / Tara Ocean Foundation
A Charter as a practical guide for territorial action
We believe that local elected representatives have a role to play in confronting plastic pollution with positive solutions in their territories and mobilizing citizens and businesses around them. Alongside the IAGF and CNR — 2 groups strongly involved in the preservation of water and biodiversity — we want to mobilize the new and future Mayors and Presidents of Communities of Communes.
On the eve of the first-round vote of the municipal elections, nearly 80 candidates had already signed the charter “My territory is committed: rivers and streams without plastic, protected ocean” which proposes 15 measures to be implemented at the scale of municipalities and run-off basins.
These proposals are brought together in 4 main areas:
- Take action against the spread of plastic waste
- Make the fight against plastic pollution a priority guiding all public policies
- Transform this issue into an opportunity for mobilization and innovation
- Act in a partnership and solidarity approach
Some signatories, including candidates from major cities traversed by the 5 main rivers and from small cities throughout France:
Jeanne Barseghian – Strasbourg (67); David Belliard – City of Paris (75); Bruno Bernard – Métropole de Lyon (69); Christophe Bouillon – Mayor of Barentin (76), president of the Associa-tion of Small Towns of France (APVF); Grégory Doucet – City of Lyon (69); Mathieu Hanotin – Saint-Denis (93); Cécile Helle – Avignon (84); Laurent Hénart – Nancy (54); Anne Hidalgo – City of Paris (75), Pierre Hurmic (Bordeaux); David Kimelfeld – Metropolis of Lyon (69); Thierry Kovacs – Mayor of Vienne (38); Jean-Luc Moudenc – Toulouse (31); Johanna Rolland – Nantes (44); Catherine Trautmann – Strasbourg (67); etc.
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