REGARD, the project that makes you act against micropollutants
Although the issue of the presence of metals in water emerged in the 1980s, the issue of micropolluants has only recently appeared in the public debate. Micropolluants are molecules that are invisible to the eye that are highly toxic to living organisms. With the onset of the summer period and global warming, there is a concentration of micropollutants in cities. Since their origin is primarily human, national and local initiatives have been launched to learn more about the chemicals that surround us. On June 25, Bordeaux Business was invited to the symposium on the restitution of the REGARD project (Reduction and management of micropolluants on the Bordeaux metropolis) in the Cité du Vin, in the presence of Anne-Lise Jacquet, Vice-President of the metropolis in charge of water and sanitation and Guillaume Choisy, Director General of the Adour Garonne Water Agency.
The REGARD project: full lighthouses on the springs of Bordeaux’s urban territory
If REGARD is part of the sustainable development policy of the Bordeaux metropolis, the dynamic is at the origin of the national with the plan to reduce micropolluants 2019-2021. The AIM of the REGARD project is to assess the presence of micropolluants in the urban waters of the metropolis and to assess their impact on the environment. Indeed, treatment plants that are currently very efficient are not designed to protect against micropolluents: especially medicines such as Ibuprofen, cleaning products such as laundry or sunscreen. This REGARD project required an investment of 3 million 300 thousand euros with bordeaux Metropole and a consortium of nine partners including the French Biodiversity Agency and Suez. A territorial diagnosis of urban waters has been put in place in order to develop collective intelligence around micropolluants since the issue of knowledge is an important lever point. Indeed, practices are essential in order to be able to limit their spread directly to the source. The genesis of the REGARD project illustrates the importance of the question on the Bordeaux metropolis. Indeed, the REGARD project was the winning project set up by the Water Agency for the period 2015-2019. By directly observing pollution from different sources at the scale of an agglomeration, REGARD provides a complete view of pollution on the Bordeaux metropolis through an integrated diagnosis.
The Bordeaux metropolis: a role to play in the fight against micropollutants
The deliverables of the REGARD project insist on the multiplicity of players to be touched on the problem of micropollunts. If the public spaces of the Bordeaux metropolis (parks, gardens, sports complexes, etc.) are not treated with plant protection products, areas of improvement remain. Indeed, the regulation on micropollunts is for the time being dated, dating back to 2000 and is only partial since it takes into account only a hundred molecules. Thus, the conclusions and solutions issued by the REGARD project are intended to enhance scientific knowledge in regulation.
REGARD does not only take a scientific approach to the problem of micropolluants in the Bordeaux metropolitan area. On the contrary, a societal approach to this theme has also been considered in order to reach “the human behind the regulations”, points out Pierre-François Staub, head of Mission Pollutions of Ecosystems at the AFB. The diversity of the consortium’s players is an illustration of this: chemists, biologists, economists participated in the project. REGARD is aimed at individuals as well as companies and more generally industrialists. Indeed, behind the presence of micropollutants resides uses and practices. With this in mind, 43 families in the Bordeaux metropolitan area have challenged themselves to change some of their practices in order to reduce micropollunts in urban areas. From this experience, the result of disturbing statistics, there are 3.4 household products per person and 7.4 hygiene products per person in the same household.
Behind REGARD, the Bordeaux metropolis wants to become a frame of reference for other communities, focusing not only on the domestic sphere as a transmitter of micropolluants. The only obstacle to action lies in the temporal aspect since it takes about twenty years to see the effects of micropolluants on the environment. For example, the University Hospital of Bordeaux, after about fifteen years, has succeeded in reducing pure biocides. In addition, REGARD has studied the economic aspect of this problem by studying the “consent to pay” of Bordeaux since the French strategy in terms of reducing micropollunts is upstream, i.e. reduction at source, while other countries, such as Switzerland, have opted for additional water treatments. The Bordeaux conurbation is also continuing its sustainable development efforts since the Metropolitan Council voted in June on the resolution “Cities and Territories without Endocrinian Disruptors” in order to make Bordeaux a territory without endocrine disruptors.
The completion of the REGARD project allows the Bordeaux metropolis to obtain expertise on micropolluants in urban areas. In addition to the important issue of scientific knowledge, REGARD has taken a cross-cutting approach to target all actors with a role to play in the fight against micropolluants. Industrialists, communities and citizens are thus encouraged to limit the number of products used in agriculture, care activities, domestic and industrial activities.
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