September 19, 2021

in Saint-Quentin in the Aisne, a brigade of rural guards hunts down the perpetrators of illegal dumping of waste

By Simon Auffret

Posted today at 01:25

A teddy bear sits near an asbestos slab and WWII shell. A few meters away, a plastic chair is overturned on a dozen clothes and, in the middle of garbage bags, an envelope comes off.

The field covered with garbage at the exit of Saint-Quentin (Aisne) brings back memories of Romain Janson. In the spring of 2020, he found an essential clue to complete one of his investigations. An open letter, like the one crumpled on the floor today, contained an invoice, a name, an address, a suspect: Mr. C. “I had gone to check the video surveillance near his home, he got out of his home in a truck that night”, confirms the rural policeman.

Mr. C. is being sued for “Illegal dumping of waste with the use of a vehicle”, offense punishable by a fine of 1,500 euros. He had borrowed his boss’s utility vehicle for a weekend for a move before dumping a full trailer next to other piles of rubbish on a lot on the outskirts of the city. A seven-minute journey by car would have been enough to reach the nearest recycling center.

“We have sometimes found photocopies of identity cards, Social Security numbers. Some do not yet know that we exist, now they understand ”, assures Fabrice Grange, also a member of the inter-municipal environmental brigade (BIE) of the agglomeration of Saint-Quentinois.

Romain Janson, rural warden and head of the inter-municipal environmental brigade, and his colleague Vincent Michel during an inspection at an illegal disposal site around Saint-Quentin (Aisne), May 31, 2021.

“This is the number one problem”

Since the municipal elections, the intermunicipal association says it has made the fight against illegal dumping of waste a priority. To the point of boasting of managing to curb a phenomenon that worries local elected officials throughout France: for the month of May only, The world counted 168 articles published on the subject in thirty-five regional newspapers. “This is the number one problem”, certifies Philippe Vignon, vice-president of the agglomeration of Saint-Quentinois, in charge of city policy and prevention of recidivism.

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A shell from the Second World War on an illegal waste disposal site around Saint-Quentin (Aisne), May 31, 2021.
Romain Janson checks the proper functioning of a camera trap installed on an illegal deposit site around Saint-Quentin (Aisne), on May 31, 2021.

At the start of 2019, 90% of communities surveyed by the Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe) already said they were “Confronted” to litter on their territory. The problem would even concern “The whole of society”, according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, which published in December 2020 a guide to the fight against deposits.

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