How to keep Paris streets clean?

15th of April 2020
How to keep Paris streets clean?

In Paris, the matter of keeping the city clean is a major talking point - Christian Bouzols reports.

The campaign for the municipal elections in France, due in mid-March, is well under way and in Paris the matter of keeping the city clean is a major issue.

All the candidates have their own proposals. As regards street cleaning, here are those of the three people hoping to become mayor of Paris.

The incumbent mayoress, Anne Hidalgo, believes in strengthening the various related services, and also considers stronger measures need to be taken against uncivil behaviour. “Our cleaning services collect 3,000 tonnes of waste every day. But that’s not enough. Dirt and litter are a constant nuisance, which is unbearable. But equally serious is the lack of respect shown for the spaces that we share together. By deteriorating our streets, people are spoiling our daily lives,” she insisted.

Local level

Anne Hidalgo is also promising to invest one billion Euros each year in “beautifying” the streets and would like to institute “cleanliness managers” for each neighbourhood. “Our intention is that steps to improve cleanliness be decided at the level of each neighbourhood, of each street. The people of Paris will thus be able to take their comments to an official, at a dedicated citizens’ counter,” she explained. “We’ll also be naming a person in charge of cleanliness for each neighbourhood who will draw a specific plan of action for each street.”

In addition Anne Hidalgo is thinking of increasing fines for litter loutishness and other offences in order to “strengthen the fight against incivilities”. Thus fines for throwing cigarette butts or pieces of paper on the pavement would be increased to €150, fines for urinating to €300, fines for fly tipping to €500 and fines for illegal bill posting to several thousand Euros. Such measures should ensure a greener city, she added.

Street managers

Benjamin Grivaux, Anne Hidalgo’s main challenger for the mayoralty and a member of president Macron’s party, intends to create a new job assignment in the capital, that of “street manager”, as one way to improve street cleanliness.

“There will be 1,000 of them, to be selected among existing municipal officials. Each of them will be responsible for a block of buildings of five or six streets and will contribute to solving problems linked to public areas and in which cleanliness will be a central factor.”

The third candidate, Cédric Villani, who left the presidential party to launch his own electoral list against Benjamin Grivaux, has the most original suggestion.

Artificial intelligence

A mathematician by profession, and winner of the Fields medal - the equivalent of the Nobel prize for mathematics - he intends to apply artificial intelligence to street cleaning. His plan is to make use of a software trained to identify dozens of types of waste and litter and which, by means of cameras mounted on municipal vehicles, will assess in real time the state of cleanliness of the city’s streets and thus optimise both the route and frequency of cleaning operations.

That for sure, is an ambitious programme. But as that candidate has only a small chance of being elected, it’s unlikely his plan will ever see the light of day.


Our Partners

  • ISSA Interclean
  • EFCI
  • EU-nited