The 24th of March we participated to a collection of all kinds of waste material including cigarette butts. This collection was organized by the association Surfrider Foundation in collaboration with other associations such as Cleanwalker, Run Eco Clean or Zero Waste Paris for instance.
We met at the Stalingrad Place in the north of Paris along with a hundred of other volunteers (180 volunteers to be exact). Our objective was to clean the streets of Paris, near the Bassin de la villette.
As we arrived, the staff provided us with gloves and garbage bags to begin the waste collection. Then, the president of the Parisian branch of the Surfrider Foundation gave us some advice and information.
We began the collection at 2 p.m. with several alternatives to gather different waste types. There was the possibility to collect them either by foot, while going for a run or even by electric boats, if one wants to collect waste material present in the river. We chose to collect as much waste products found in the water as possible, using boats provided by the association “Marins d’eau douce”.
The Bassin de la Villette was found to be very polluted, with the presence of waste material such as plastic and glass as well as more surprising waste products such as a sofa for instance. After one hour of collection, we decided to spend the remaining 30 minutes to help the rest of the volunteers to clean the streets.
At the end, all the waste material collected was sorted out and counted. The results were sadly impressive. In fact, almost 600 plastic glasses and 1 000 glass bottles were collected. Even more dramatically, the number of cigarette butts collected in this reduced perimeter was around 56 000 in only one hour and a half. This number really shows the lack of smokers awareness and represents the major issues it brings.
We took this waste collection as a great opportunity to raise our awareness on the influence waste products have on our environment and our streets, more specifically cigarette butts. We also had the chance to meet very interesting and engaged people that are dedicated to protect the environment against pollution.