- Mathieu Perino, a very involved member of the Nice plogging collective, chokes up after seeing "the astronomical amount of waste generated" by the Ironman world championship which he denounces the "cult of the disposable".
- Between "the ubiquitous plastic bottles", the "disposable cups" that littered the floor, but also "almost new shoes, thrown by the hundreds", the cup is full for the association.
- The Ironman group explains that it has "worked closely with the local authorities of Nice to ensure that a responsible waste management plan is in place before, during and after the race".
It was a Frenchman, Sam Laidlow who won the ironman world championship on Sunday, contested for the first time in Nice. But that's not really what Mathieu Perino will remember from the legendary triathlon. This very involved member of the Nice plogging collective chokes up after seeing "the astronomical amount of waste generated" by the event and its "cult of the disposable".
Volunteering with others to clean the Promenade des Anglais after the race, he denounces "a real aberration". Between "the ubiquitous plastic bottles", the "disposable cups" that littered the ground (40,000 according to the association for a little less than 2,000 runners), but also "almost new shoes, thrown away by the hundreds", the cup is full. In photos sent to 20 Minutes, "water shoes", used by athletes to walk on pebbles while jumping into the water, are piled up in garbage bins.
"Medical and safety imperatives"
"We were shocked," says Mathieu Perino. And it was without counting on "non-stop water jets to water the runners". Contacted by 20 Minutes, The Ironman group, organizer of the event, explains that "cooling stations" have been deployed for athletes "because of the high temperatures on the day of the race" and "medical and safety imperatives".
The organizers answer point by point. In particular, they ensure that the cardboard cups, "temporarily placed" on the ground to allow volunteers to "focus on the rapid hydration of athletes", "were then recycled". They explain that they have "worked closely with the local authorities of Nice to ensure that a responsible waste management plan is in place before, during and after the race". They specify that "yellow waste collection bins are provided by the city" and that "sanctions are applied to any athlete caught throwing rubbish intentionally outside" "ecological zones", specially set up.
Reusable and foldable water tanks and cups?
Clearly, they say they are doing the maximum. But then "what solution to propose? Stop all sporting events? ", asks a user on the Facebook page of Nice plogging. There is no question of it, but to avoid plastic bottles, "water tanks would be easy to install," says Mathieu Perino. "This is what the Vannes marathon, the Cannes Urban Trail, the Écotrail de Paris and the Embrunman are already doing," he says. For the question of cups, it is the option "foldable and reusable" that should be retained, according to the collective.
Next year, Nice will host its own stage of the Ironman, but also the women's world championship. Will these recommendations be retained by the organizers? See you in June, then in September.
- Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur