vendredi 30 juin 2006
(picture courtesy of La Provence)

There are two things that Marseille does very well- trash and strikes. When they combine into one (ie the Garbage collectors go on strike) watch out! Within about three days the city is going to reek. Especially in high summer.

Here is some info from another website.

Nationally, SNCF is running about 50 to 60 percent of normal on long distance routes. Marseille is still on strike, and there are no trains running from Toulouse, Montpellier, or Limoges. Service is increasing in the west with four return trips from Paris to Nantes and Rennes; and 50 percent of normal service to Bordeaux. The Eurostar trains to Brussels and London are supposed to operating normally.

Note also that the port of Marseille is shut down and the garbage collectors are still on strike, in addition to buses, in Bordeaux.

La Poste- A minority of sorting centers are still voting for
strike action, so deliveries are expected to be irregular all this week. Mail your Christmas cards as soon as you can. In France, cards are usually sent for New Year instead, so it is not unusual to get cards at the end of January.

The date? 1995

And again
September 1999:- Big subjects in the papers are the garbage strike in Marseille

And finally, from some exchange students
Marseille 2003
-Why go to the most criminal city in France?
Although the tourist books say:
“Marseille only has 4 places of interest”, we discovered that there is a lot more to enjoy in and around Marseille that is worthwhile to sniff from a couple of hours to taste the French lifestyle. (please do not do this when the garbage men are already on strike for a week!)
Apart from the garbage men to be on strike the public transport and even the students of the university have been on strike several times, but it only made us realize that the NS is not that bad after all.

-After a short holiday break were we visited Spain, we returned to
Marseille in the evening and are confronted with a terrible mess in the streets. Everywhere in the whole city the streets are filled with garbage and for the first time of my life I see rats and cockroaches peacefully dining together. Marseille was already not the cleanest city of Europe, but at that moment it was the dirtiest place on earth. The cause of this mess was, obviously, a strike of dustmen. This strike took almost 2 weeks and fortunately the municipality of Marseille found a great solution: spraying a citron-odoured liquid in the streets! An anti climax to leave Marseille like this after nevertheless a great time.

Hmm. Let me get this straight. They are saying that there are student strikes, transportation strikes, La Poste is slow and annoying, and that the garbage people are on strike? I don't believe it! Okay, it seems like I have been pretty negative about Marseille lately. But I really think that besides maybe Quito, Ecuador it is the dirtiest city that I have lived in. There is a high amount of graffiti, dog droppings and general trash all over. People really just do not seem to care that they dropped a sandwich wrapper on the street 2 feet away from a trash can.
Dog droppings are not required to be picked up by their owners. Or perhaps they are, but it certainly isn't enforced. The most that people will do is to drag their dog over towards the gutter or a patch of dirt when he starts to squat. So the good news for dog owners in Marseille- you don't have to pick up your dog's poop. Bad news for everyone else- you are walking in dog poop.
So normally the trash cans are emptied once a day, then someone comes by as well with a big broom to brush all trash on the sidewalk into the gutter where it will be washed away by the water that flows through the gutters. (on purpose from faucets, not rainwater.)
Then people come through with huge hoses to power wash the trash off the sidewalks into the street where it is swept up by a big street cleaner. It would be impossible to get people to park only on one side of the street this night and the other side of the street the next night. Why? because there are simply not enough parking spots as it is, much less when half of them are required to be empty.
There is some recycling, but mainly for glass and plastic. I haven't seen any paper/newspaper recycling bins.
So this latest strike lasted for a little over a week and was, as always, about the hours of work and salary. After a strike it takes several days just to pick up all the extra trash by hand that was set around the garbage cans. It is actually quite a shock to see how much trash is accumulated from the people living on one street in a week. It seriously makes you worried about the environment.

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