Grézieu-La-Varenne, a small city in Japanese France, has unexpectedly turn into a part of a global environmental debate. After harmful ranges of air pollution have been uncovered, a legal ‘ecocide’ investigation is underway, the primary of its type within the EU.
‘Ecocide’ describes widespread, long-term, and intentional acts of environmental hurt. Final yr, after years of campaigning by activists, France grew to become the primary EU nation to criminalise these actions. Now, this new regulation is being put to the check.
Audrey Marcodini moved into her dream dwelling three years in the past, a property nestled on the foot of the Lyonnais mountains. She and her teenage daughter spent shut to 2 completely happy years right here till an surprising discovery turned their lives the other way up.
Trichloroethylene, an industrial solvent generally utilized by dry cleaners, was detected in Grézieu-La-Varenne in 2019. While widespread, this chemical is a identified carcinogen, and excessive ranges of publicity will be deadly. The invention got here after considered one of Audrey’s neighbours discovered a viscous, foul-smelling liquid in her yard.
When the search was prolonged to Audrey’s home, which sits on an outdated industrial laundry website, checks confirmed the trichloroethylene ranges have been over 800 instances the legally acceptable restrict.
Audrey and her daughter have been urgently rehoused, however the potential long-term harm to their well being remains to be unknown.
Alongside the legal trial for ‘ecocide’, six civil lawsuits have additionally been filed by residents. Just one verdict has been delivered to date, which discovered two solicitors and one actual property firm responsible. The convicted events should subsequently pay a million euros for failing to reveal particulars of the air pollution.
Audrey says: “It is very important me that the individuals who have knowingly polluted our planet, and who have gotten away with it till now, are compelled to pay.”
While activists imagine France’s nationwide regulation is a step in the fitting path, they’re additionally calling for ‘ecocide’ to be recognised by the Worldwide Prison Court docket.
Because of this crimes of extreme environmental destruction can be thought of on a par with warfare crimes and genocide.