A French city fights against fly-tipping

5th of August 2021 Article by Christian Bouzols
A French city fights against fly-tipping

Christian Bouzols reports from France, where local authorities in Avignon are making citizens accountable for urban cleanliness.

In the south of France, the city of Avignon - famous for being the seat of the Popes during the Middle Ages - the authorities have made a determined stand to keep that historic city clean. Their aim is to make the people of the town accountable for their behaviour in terms of urban cleanliness and to put an end to antisocial attitudes in that department.

Their campaign is two-pronged: first the authorities are going to remind people how to behave and second, they are going to take concrete steps to catch offenders red handed by setting up mobile “photo traps”.

They say they are fed up with people leaving rubbish in the streets, and particularly with fly-tippers, who throw away large objects. In their declared war on litter, they’ve launched the educational aspect of the campaign by placing leaflets in everyone’s letterbox, promoting the correct way to behave. They’ve also displayed anti-litter posters across the city with the slogan “We’re all Concerned” and even posted good behaviour videos on social media.

Shock treatment

The mayoress of Avignon intends this to be a shock treatment. “If things don’t change, we’re seriously going to fine offenders,” she says. To this end, the city has increased from six to 70 the number of wardens authorised to hand out fines to litter louts and fly-tippers. In its campaign against fly-tipping, the town has purchased 10 mobile photo traps which will be set up randomly in those areas known to be used by fly-tippers.

These devices will be taking photos to make it possible to bring charges against people caught in the act of leaving an old fridge, a worn mattress or some other bulky item on a public highway. There will be fines to the tune of €1500. To give an idea of the problem, the mayoress said that 4,000 tonnes of rubbish and fly-tipped objects were collected from public spaces last year in Avignon.

But this southern French city is not the only one to be blighted by this type of antisocial behaviour. Not far from Avignon, in the town of Cavaillon, the authorities are infuriated by this scourge, which even affects the town centre. They too have installed mobile photo traps in known polluted areas. These devices detect movement and automatically take shots of cars stopping there, registering their number plates as evidence of fly-tipping for forwarding to the local prosecutor.

Gérard Daudet, mayor of Cavaillon, explained that over 300 tonnes of fly-tipped waste were collected from the streets of the town last year, at a cost of about €500,000. The cameras take all the evidence needed to produce a report for forwarding to the local magistrate, who will then decide on the size of the fine to apply. This can reach €1,500 and will be determined according to the degree of incivility shown by the offender. To date, nine people have been caught on camera and their files sent to the Avignon prosecutor.


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