Science

Corsica: operation to clean biomedia, waste from sewage treatment plants – Sciences et Avenir

The Corsican Office of the Environment (OEC) carried out on Saturday morning, on eleven beaches of the island, a vast cleaning operation aimed at biomedia, these small plastic discs escaped from the sewage treatment plants and they were washed away by thousands on the shores.

A total of about 100,000 of these biomedies or “filter media”, that is, more than 50 kilos, were collected on the beaches of the marine protected areas of the Île de Beauté, by commissioned agents of the OEC, the Collectivité de Corse and the cap. Marine Natural Park of Córcega and Agriate, with the support of various associations.

For the president of the OEC, Guy Armanet, this morning the cleanup aimed to “collect accurate data to map and analyze the phenomenon” and “constitute an adequate and efficient legal file” to, in the future, “anticipate and prevent this type of contamination ”.

This “substantial and well-founded legal file” could “allow the OEC to file a complaint against the perpetrators of these contaminations,” added the Global Earth Keeper association, which also participated.

Operation cleaning the beach of Sant’Amanza, in Corsica, on November 20, 2021 (AFP – Pascal POCHARD-CASABIANCA)

“We would like that to stop,” insisted Mr. Armanet, specifying that this waste comes from the sea and therefore, a priori, from Italy.

These “biomedies” are “small circular plastic filters used since the early 2000s in many municipal or industrial wastewater treatment plants (fish farming, stationery)”, stated the Mare Vivu association, a participant in this operation: “Its function is to serve as a support for microorganisms that, by agglutinating in them, allow the organic matter to be degraded more efficiently during the biological treatment phase of the water ”.

According to its website, “various incidents” may have led to cases of contamination, in particular during heavy rains that “caused overflows in sewage treatment plants, washing away biomedia sewage.”

In February 2021, 40,000 biomedies had been collected on the beaches of the Lido de la Marana, south of Bastia, according to the association.

At the same time, preliminary hearings had begun for a trial for this type of plastic pollution in the sea in Italy, in Salerno. Environmental protection associations had attacked officials of the municipality of Paestum and the company responsible for the management of the municipal wastewater treatment plant after millions of these filters were dumped in the Mediterranean in February 2018.

Hundreds of thousands of these plastic washers had reached the Italian beaches of Campania and even Tunisia and France, according to the Surfrider association.

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