Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Two million French people drink polluted tap water

Two million French people drink polluted tap water
The UFC publishes an investigation in which she points agriculture, largely responsible for the pollution.

Nearly two million people in France receive water does not comply with regulations as too polluted, warned Tuesday the consumer association UFC-Que Choisir, involving agriculture, "the source of nearly 70% of pollution. "

"There are nearly two million consumers who pay for water significantly contaminated," said at a press conference Sylvie Pradelle, national director of the association, even if for 97.5% of the population " overall water quality is good through regulation. "

If virtually no pollution is found in large cities or medium-sized cities, 2,750 municipalities receive water does not comply in France, mainly in areas of intensive agriculture, according to the UFC.

The association based its warning on its investigation from the results of analyzes of the Ministry of Health, district by district, over two years. She spent her results to the test of six criteria "reflecting the main contamination."

Pesticides are responsible for most of agricultural pollution (60%) and their use in agriculture "has not declined in 10 years," denounces the association.

She said that if none of the suspected risks could not be demonstrated, an exhibition on the long-term interactions between different pesticides could cause cancer and reproductive disorders.

The areas most affected are the Paris Basin, the North Rhone Valley and the Southwest, and the most populous municipalities receiving water are polluted Sens (Yonne) and Lisieux (Calvados).
Pesticides and nitrates

Second source of agricultural pollution and leading cause of catchment closure (water extraction points), nitrates contaminate water mainly in the north, says the association.

The France is being prosecuted by Brussels for failing to fight against this pollution, which is the subject of a directive.

More generally, if the major cities or regions such as Brittany distribute clean water, this is by applying "essentially remedial solutions (dilution water, d├ępollutions or abandonment of abstraction)," laments the UFC.

These solutions, largely borne by consumers (90%), result in a surcharge of 7 to 12% of the water bill, or between 640 million and 1 billion euros, deplores the association.

"For us, it is urgent to act" because "the future can not be bottled water," which costs 133 times more than tap water, says Alain Bazot, its president.

The UFC-Que Choisir claims therefore "effective protection of all catchments", "application of the polluter-pays in the field of agricultural pollution" and that "the aid of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are reserved for modes production based on integrated and organic farming. "

"We do not stigmatize farmers but agricultural policy," said Alain Bazot, for whom "a way to save the CAP is to add an environmental logic."

Besides agriculture, other sources of water contamination are related "to treatment failure (bacteriological quality, aluminum) and natural contamination (radioactivity)" and related "1500 common and 500,000 consumers."

The UFC-Que Choisir makes available on its website the results, district by district, its statements.

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