It was a Frenchman, Sam Laidlow, who won the ironman world championship on Sunday, contested for the first time in Nice. But that’s not really what Mathieu Perino will remember from the legendary triathlon. This very involved member of the Nice plogging collective chokes after seeing “the astronomical number of waste generated” by the event and its “cult of throwaways”.
Volunteering with others to clean the Promenade des Anglais after the race, he denounced “a real aberration”. Between “the omnipresent plastic bottles”, the “disposable cups” which littered the ground (40,000 according to the association for just under 2,000 runners), but also “almost new shoes, thrown away by the hundreds”, the cup is full . In photos sent to 20 minutes“water shoes”, used by athletes to walk on the pebbles long enough to jump into the water, are found piled up in garbage bins.
“Medical and safety imperatives”
“We were shocked,” says Mathieu Perino. And that was without counting on “the non-stop jets of water to spray the runners”. Contacted by 20 minutesThe Ironman group, organizer of the event, explains that “cooling stations” have been deployed for athletes “due to the high temperatures on race day” and “medical and safety requirements”.
The organizers respond point by point. They ensure in particular that the cardboard cups, “temporarily placed” on the ground to allow volunteers to “concentrate on the rapid hydration of the athletes”, “were then recycled”. They explain that they “worked closely with the local authorities of Nice to ensure that a responsible waste management plan is put in place before, during and after the race”. They specify that “yellow waste collection bins are provided by the city” and that “sanctions are applied to any athlete caught intentionally throwing trash outside” specially set up “ecological zones”.
Reusable and collapsible water tanks and cups?
In short, they say they are doing their best. But then “what solution should we propose?” Stop all sporting events? », asks an Internet user on the Nice plogging Facebook page. There is no question of it, but to avoid plastic bottles, “water tanks would be easy to install,” says Mathieu Perino. “This is what the Vannes marathon, the Cannes Urban Trail, the Paris Ecotrail and the Embrunman are already doing,” he says. For the question of cups, it is the “foldable and reusable” option that should be chosen, according to the collective.
Next year, Nice will host its own stage of the Ironman, but also the women’s world championship. Will these recommendations be accepted by the organizers? See you in June, then in September.