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Carrieres sous Poissy a " sea of Waste " at the Paris gate

Less than a kilometer away from this Parisian suburb, an estimated 36 tons of trash have been dumped illegally. In some place, the heaps of sofas, glass, shoes, trash bags and other construction debris in this otherwise empty field reach the height of two men.

According to French law, companies that generate waste are accountable for its disposal. But without any way to enforce this, local authorities are left to oversee waste collection centers and combat illegal wastelands. 

Worldwide associations like World Cleanup Day, which was created in Estonia to fight against waste pollution, help organize local cleanup initiatives. In September 2018, its French branch joined with the mayor of Carrieres-sous-Poissy and locals, to clean a small part of the "sea of waste" in a symbolic operation.

"We try to speak with everyone, from individuals to associations to companies," Anna Gril, the French representative of World Cleanup Day, told DW. Fighting against waste, she said, requires a "global approach."

So far, the Paris region has devoted €5.4 million to battling illegal wastelands. Startups like Ecodrop that help entrepreneurs take care of their waste and optimize the costs of waste disposal are flourishing across the country. Local initiatives using hidden cameras to collect evidence against polluters have also emerged — as seen in this video from Carrieres-sous-Poissy — but they are still at the experimental stage.

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