First assignment of group n° 021


Resources used by the team

Cedric ALLIN

Book : Le déchet, c’est les autres → Gérard Bertolini (directeur de recherche au CNRS de Lyon) → edition érès → 240 pages → septembre 2006



Book : Déchets, effluents et pollution - 3e éd. - Impact sur l'environnement et la santé Broché – 11 janvier 2012


Arnaud BERNA

Book : « Environnement : votre santé en danger ! », Dr Jean-Louis Peytavin (diplômé de la Faculté de Médecine de Lyon), Editions Prat, 214 pages, 2006


Giuseppe ABBISSO

Book : "Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash" by Elizabeth Royte


Lauriane AMAND

Book : Litter-ology: Understanding Littering and the Secrets to Clean Public Places Paperback – July 17, 2015 by Karen Spehr and Rob Curnow



Book : L’art de jeter ses déchets à Marseille → Corentin HOUZE →Décembre 2014



Book : "Les initiatives solidaires" by Laurent Gardin


First description of our project

First description of our project's idea
The Garbage Pollution Problem in the City
How to evaluate the effectiveness of the cleanliness? We can carry out a survey to know how inhabitants assess the cleanliness of the place they are living.. People will be objective because they feel concerned by this problem and they want it to change. They are conscious of the problem but can’t solve it alone, without help. We can also ask an association to make a report about the cleanliness of the place where the action will be conducted.They will be neutral in their assessment, so their feedback will be more impacting. There are some associations involved in this type of subjects such as AVPU What’s the maximum time frame to clean it?

In order to increase the possible number of people involving in the project, 2 days (during the weekend) should give more possibilities for the volunteers to come in Marseille. What is the maximum cost?

In order to clean the city, we will need a big communication campaign, plastic bags, containers, gloves, brooms, pliers… So as to reduce the costs, we will ask to the city hall to participate to this project by providing all the machines from the Waste Management Service. We will also try to negotiate with local journalists to help us to communicate before and during the event. Introduction to the problem

Humanity is facing a big challenge about environment as some impacts on different levels of the society. There are three main pillars: Economic, Environment and Health.

In terms of economic, it is a real challenge for municipalities to clean litter and collect trash but also for residents. Moreover, according to the uneg organisation, the quality of the environment is essential for tourism. Indeed, rich and varied environment can attract people in specific places. By consequences, a loss of biodiversity, caused by pollution, means a loss of potential tourism and a lose of money for municipalities.

In terms of environment, littering destroys the ecological balance by introducing toxic trashes that are harmful for both wildlife and flora. In the nature, some trashes could stay thousand of years before being completely disintegrated (glass, nuclear wastes…). Moreover, animals could ingest some garbages or be asphyxiated and by consequence die. Trashes thrown into the sea is a main problem as it is traveling a long distance because of currents. As a result, it affects directly marine life, such as fishes and also corals who are the base of submarine ecosystem’ s regulation. It also pollute beaches and smell bad. In addition, littering can create fire as a result destroy the life of the fauna and flora of hectares. Then, trashes can seep into groundwater and affect the quality of humans, animals and plants as we all need unpolluted water to survive.

Finally, in terms of health, pollution is a really problematic factor that lead to severe consequences. Indeed, a large range of diseases is coming from the air pollution such as heavy respiratory diseases. An article from James Gallagher, 2014 on the BBC News Website mentions that “there are an estimated 29,000 deaths annually in the UK from air pollution”. Even if this particular type of pollution is the most common and known, other dramatic diseases, such as cancer, nervous and immune system problems, can occur because of other hidden pollution like water or land pollution. To conclude, even small trashes can have a broad effect and cause a wide range of diseases for every single person on Earth.

As production is increasing tremendously and as people are using more and more products in the consumption society, pollution and management of waste are becoming huge challenges all over the world.

Please answer to the three expected questions:

1. What Problem do you want to solve ?

All these findings have led us to come up with a more specific problem which is: “the garbage pollution problem in a city”. Marseille is the city we have chosen as it is the most polluted one in France. Furthermore, this city fulfils the criterion that are required to complete successfully our project. Indeed, a survey conducted over 3 years from September 2012 has shown a high level of dissatisfaction (27% of satisfaction that is a very low result) regarding the garbage disposal in this city. Moreover, the analysis of the survey shows also a deep feeling of annoyance concerning the dirty environment and the prevailing untidiness. This analysis is a proof of the dirtiness of Marseille, especially due to the behavior of people that are letting many trashes in the street. This environment is annoying the inhabitants, is dissuading people to come and to visit this city, that’s why it will be important to conduct a wide cleaning action. The aim of this action would be to gather people together so as to pick the trashes in the street as well as litters and to sort them to complete the process in a short period of time. That is the main problem our project would solve.

2. Why does this problem exist?

Firstly, to explain why this problem exists, we will use the following citation from Barbra Helferrich, the European Commission Environment Directorate’ spokeswoman: "Look, no one wants waste”. "You want to ignore it, or throw it away, or have huge piles of it out of sight in landfill, as they do in Britain."

Consequently, this problem comes from the existence of Men themselves, particularly because of the population growth. The United Nations World Population Prospect predicts that 9 billion people will live worldwide in 2048. Indeed, more and more issues about garbage will emerge because of the population’ shot up.

There is unequal access to trash removal around the world. It costs a big amount of money for municipalities. We can use the city of Marseille as example, which spend 185€ per person and per year.

In other words, the global budget allocated by Marseille against garbages in 2012 was 221 485 558€ (it includes collect, research, wages, oil…). Indeed, even if a city spends an insane amount of money to keep the cleanliness, that is not enough. Consequently, it emerges a structural problem. In 2012, for example, nearly 10,000 tons of rubbish were amassed in the street of the famous town that is located in the French Riviera. And this is not an isolated case.

3. What breakthrough are you commited to creating?

Cleaning a city is an ambitious project and we have many examples of citizen’s or company’s initiative to act for a better environment, without the pollution, the health risks and the dangers of garbages.

In each project, we have noticed that one of the keypoint to initiate the “breakthrough” is to educate people about the importance and the benefits of the cleanliness of their city. It is something we call the change process. We have seen in a study on French behaviour (called “Opinion et pratique environnementale des français en 2014”) that they are conscious about the ecology and the environment, but they are not really willing to change their habits and make effort for strictly ecological reasons. Anyway, it will be a challenge to convince and to make people involved in our project.

Great projects need support. As an example, we can mention the city of Pune that has reduced the amount of garbage in the landfill by nearly 8000 pounds a day. In this case, there is a company called Cummins which has involved its salaries in the cleaning process, but also citizens by contacting them door to door to implement a new recycling system.This project has helped them to improve their image and also to prove their sustainable concern. Indeed, the biodegradable waste was collected in order to transform it in methane used in generators by the local companies and the households.

We have defined some elements of the solution:

  • We will need to convince the people to participate to this initiative, because we can’t do it on our own
  • We should look for the support of companies, societies and the municipality that can benefit of the project. Some labels exist for clean city that can interest municipalities to get involve in the breakthrough process.
  • We will also need to contact some experts
  • The crowdfunding will helps us to finance the action

Our main goal is to educate people about urban environmental concern through a collective movement. We also would like this initiative to be reproducible in other cities. In the first hand, we have selected Marseille as our main target for this action.

Potential experts already identified

  • Rainer Nõlvak -> He started the initiative "Let's Do It" that cleaned the Estonia in one day. He also launch the initiative in other countries and he might be interesting in our project. -> It could be hard to contact him, but it's definitely the kind of Expert we would like to convince to join the team or simply in order to have some advices.
  • Jean Claude Gaudin and other politicians of Marseille -> To launch this initiative will be hard without the helps and the support of the mayors or the political institutions of Marseille. -> As it benefit to the city, it seems to be achievable to reach politics support.
  • ERG Environnement Marseille -> This is a team of engineers in Marseille that is specialised in decontamination of the environment. We don't have the name of a particular contact in this company, but they definitely represent the kind of people that have precise datas and means to participate to our action.
  • We have some others tracks and we will update the list of experts soon.

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