August 1, 2021

the Brittany region under pressure

In the town hall of Saint-Michel-en-Grève (Côtes-d’Armor), Tuesday, July 20, the microphone turns from hand to hand. « Excellent », ” correct “, “Historical” … Representatives of Breton chambers of agriculture, local elected officials and environmental activists unanimously welcome the survey presented by the Court of Auditors and the regional chamber of accounts on the effectiveness of public policies to fight against green algae.

The report, posted online on July 2, clearly identifies the nitrogen present in the waterways – “More than 90% of agricultural origin” – as responsible for the green tides which have covered part of the Breton coast since the 1970s. Above all, he denounces the lack of means, controls, objectives and coordination of preventive control plans for this phenomenon, which is recognized as dangerous for health. public. Annie Podeur, president of the second chamber of the Court of Auditors, insists: “This work calls on the actors and the general public. It is also a message of encouragement not to give up. “

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The investigation puts unprecedented pressure on the public authorities, whose action is judged “Insufficient”. Especially since Brittany is preparing, according to the Center for the Study and Valorization of Algae (CEVA), for a year « record » in terms of ulva stranding, because of the heavy rains in recent weeks and the legacy of last season. Data suggests an average of 50 to 60% more algae in July. For lack of being able to pick them up, six beaches are currently closed.

The intensive agricultural model criticized

“Local elected officials are reaching the end of their mission. We are tired. Worn out. Today, we must change our strategy and find a clear roadmap ”, claims Roger Le Goff, president (DVD) of the community of communes of Fouesnantais (Finistère). Like many, the city councilor would like to see the State, the main financier of the plans against green algae, and the regional council orchestrate “More actively” the struggle. If the first has been discreet since the publication of the survey and its recommendations on July 2, the Brittany region has positioned itself more frankly.

The day before the presentation of the report, Monday July 19, its president, Loïg Chesnais-Girard, organized a press conference to express his will “To tackle the subject head-on”. The socialist, reelected in June at the head of the regional executive, knows he is expected on the subject, the treatment of green algae embodying the promised greening of his policy. A growing part of Breton public opinion criticizes the environmental impacts of the intensive agricultural model at work and calibrated to produce food for 22 million inhabitants annually.

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