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Garbage Strike in Paris: 5,600 Tons of Waste Accumulated in Streets

Paris, France is facing a major crisis as the city’s sanitation workers strike against the government’s controversial pension reform bill. The strike, which began on March 6th, has caused over 5,600 tons of garbage to accumulate in Paris’s streets and alleyways. Not only has this strike impacted Paris, but cities such as Rennes, Le Havre, and Nantes have also been affected.[0]

The municipal workers are protesting against the government’s plan to increase the retirement age from 57 to 59. This plan has been met with much anger and frustration by Parisians.[1] Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo supports the social movement and said, “The claim of the garbage collectors of the City of Paris who legitimately wish not to work two more years is fair.”[2]

The strike has also caused three of the city’s waste incinerators to be closed due to the requisition of the striking staff. This has caused a major health risk for refuse collectors and citizens alike. Romain Lasseur, a specialist, told Le Parisien newspaper, “The strike triggers a change in rat behaviour. They'll rummage in bins, reproduce there, and leave their urine and droppings. We have a worrying health risk for refuse collectors and the general population.”[3]

The strike has caused piles of rubbish to accumulate on the streets of Paris and other cities. In photos and videos shared on social media, garbage bags can be seen piling up on the city's normally picturesque streets, forming shoulder-high piles of waste.[3] Tourists and citizens alike are being impacted by the overflowing trash bins that have blocked sidewalks on the streets of Paris.[4]

With no end in sight, the garbage collectors’ strike is having a major impact on the French capital. It is clear that the government needs to take action to resolve the dispute and end the strike.

0. “‘It’s disgusting’: Paris rots under mounds of rubbish as bin collectors extend strike” The Guardian, 15 Mar. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/mar/15/its-disgusting-paris-rots-under-mounds-of-rubbish-as-bin-collectors-extend-strike

1. “Heaps of rubbish draw rats (and tourists) in Paris” The Times, 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/heaps-of-rubbish-draw-rats-and-tourists-in-paris-0jztzp2pn

2. “Garbage piles up in Paris as refuse workers continue strike” Xinhua, 17 Mar. 2023, https://english.news.cn/20230318/ebd91877631e47d0b33aaf1e09da3361/c.html

3. “Watch: Tons Of Garbage Pile Up In Paris As Pension Strike Continues, Rat Invasion Feared” NDTV.com, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/watch-garbage-piles-up-in-paris-as-pension-strike-continues-people-fear-rat-invasion-3861874

4. “The Eiffel Tower, l'Arc de Triomphe … the pile of garbage? Tourists in Paris stunned” CBC.ca, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2182715459643

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