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Étang de Berre at the heart of a spectacular cleaning operation

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This popular expanse of salt water near Aix-en-Provence and Marseille was recently invaded by tons of polystyrene and other waste of all kinds. Volunteers from several associations cleaned the pond.

Three tons of miscellaneous waste

At the end of April 2021, the journalist Hugo Clément had published a video report testifying to the presence of a impressive amount of polystyrene in the pond of Berre. However, this type of plastic was so present that the vegetation tried to adapt by growing askew. The duck populations also evolved in the midst of a lot of waste. The Wings of the Ocean association, in collaboration with Opération Mer Propre and the Nautic Club Médeen, carried out an intensive cleaning of the pond.

Sure on the Facebook page on May 10, Operation Clean Sea announced the harvest of 27 bags of 100 L therefore containing almost three tonnes of various waste, including the famous polystyrene. This painstaking work took a full day, but according to the volunteers, there are still some finishing operations to be done. In any case, the biggest part is done and Operation Clean Sea has undertaken to return regularly to the site in order to follow the evolution and recovery of biodiversity.

Credits: Operation Clean Sea / Facebook

Another very active local association

The costs of the recent clean-up were borne by Wings of the Ocean. However, volunteers and donations from many Internet users made it possible to ensure and pay for sorting as well as waste removal. Let us recall all the same that the pond of Berre (Bouches-du-Rhône) is a brackish body of water covering a 155 km² area. It is a true coastal lagoon and above all, the second largest salt pond in Europe after the Mar Menor (Spain). Étang de Berre is a tourist and recreational site, but also a major industrial site located near the EDF Saint-Chamas power station.

On April 27, 2021, the daily Provence also underlined the action of the association Planet Berre Net. The volunteers had completed no less than 80 bags of 100 L. However, the list of waste was quite long: plastics, fishing nets, tires, chairs or even windsurfing. According to the southern newspaper, this operation repeats once a month. The volunteers of Planet Berre Net therefore continue to work despite the recurring incivility of some people which is combined with the inaction of the public authorities. The next operation will be a cleaning around the Mauran district in Berre-l’Étang during this month of May.


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