Paris: Lafarge cement manufacturer suspected of discharging polluted waters into the Seine

Published by Caroline J. · Photos by Julie M. · Published on 2 September 2020 at 10h22 · Updated on 3 September 2020 at 16h48
This is an ecologic scandal making a splash. Paris public prosecutor has opened an investigation in late August against the LafargeHolcim cement manufacturer suspected of discharging into the Seine a mix of “particles of cement, process liquids and plastic microfibers”. Paris authorities have decided to file a complaint against Lafarge.

Reactions are flowing after Europe 1’s revelations. On September 1st, the French radio station reported that a Lafarge cement manufacturer factory set in Paris 12th arrondissement discharged in the Seine a mix of “particles of cement, process liquids and plastic microfibers”.

Fishery officers from the Interdepartmental Federation for Fishing and Protection of Aquatic Environments reported the facts late August to the French Biodiversity Agency. “We have noticed pollution because of thin cement rejection included in plastic micro-fibers coming from a hole in a tank. This tank, on the quay by the Seine, includes rinse water for concrete mixer trucks”, Jacques Lemoine – development officer at the Interdepartmental Federation for Fishing and Protection of Aquatic Environments told France 3.

Moreover, we have been told that Paris public prosecutor has decided to open an investigation against the cement manufacturer for “discharging harmful substances by legal entity”, “throw or neglection by legal entity of harmful substances”, and “use of phytosanitary products without respecting conditions of use”.

The inquest has been entrusted to the French Biodiversity Agency as well as the river squad. As for the French Biodiversity Agency and the Mairie de Paris, they have decided to press charges against Lafarge.

Many people reacted on Twitter like Paris first deputy mayor Emmanuel Grégoire, in charge of urbanism, architecture of the Greater Paris and relations between arrondissements.

Tweet reads: “pictures as shown by Europe1 are an ecologic scandal, as Paris and its partners are working on the quality of the water of the Seine. We have referred to the Public Prosecutor in order to launch an inquiry and establish responsibilities”.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has also reacted, speaking of a “genuine ecologic scandal”:

Tweet reads: “This is a genuine ecologic scandal, as we have been working with our partners for many years to improve the quality of the river. The City of Paris will refer to the Public Prosecutor for these serious actions harming our environment”.

As for former Paris mayor runner-up David Belliard, now deputy mayor for transport, he condemns “Lafarge’s irresponsible and scandalous behavior for polluting the Seine once again”. 

Tweet reads: “Lafarge’s irresponsible and scandalous behavior for polluting the Seine once again. Don’t let this company with rogue behaviors keep on destroying the river and its ecosystem!

Last but not least, the Paris Animaux Zoopolis association asks the institutions to punish polluters. 

Tweet reads: “Watercourses are no trash. They are habitats for fishes, crustaceans and birds. It is urgent the institutions punish polluters and make use of everything to prevent it from happening again.”

Facing the revelations, the LafargeHolcim France company has reacted in a press release saying: “the Bercy site has been victim of deliberate deterioration of a watertightness slab, set on the last water settling tank leading to a slight temporary recycled water runoff into the Seine”. The LafargeHolcim company has announced they filed a complaint against malicious act.

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