Autumn leaves too polluted to be composted!

Most Geneva communes sytematically collect fallen Autumn leaves and send them to be composted. However, some of those collected in Vernier are too polluted, so are simply burned.

This statement was made yesterday by the Vernier Administrative Councillor Yvan Rochat, who attended the first of the meetings organised by the ecological organisation Noé21 and held in Vernier. Unfortunately, Yvan Rochat was unable to stay for the discussion, as he had to go to a meeting of the Vernier Administration to discuss the Geneva overall planning proposals up to the year 2030 (Plan Directeur Cantonal Genève 2030 : I disrespectfully call it the Geneva State Council's Great Leap Forward!).

According to him, analysis shows that the leaves, when they fall from the trees and are collected by the commune, are too polluted to be sent to the composting centre in Chatillon, Bernex. Instead, they are sent to the incineration plant (a pun!) in Cheneviers. He had understood that this was as a result of, amongst other causes, pollution from overflying aircraft. However, he subsequently rectified this understanding: the leavers that are sent for burning are the ones collected at the sides of (some?) roads.

In his absence, the subject of aircraft pollution, both chemical and accoustic, was not one of the principal subjects discussed: I will talk in a subsequent blog about what was discussed. However, it did make me recall that I have met a number of people living around the airport (even as far away as the Yvoire/Nernier region) who have stated that on occasions they can smell the kerosene and observe its effect on the produce of some fruit trees. Of course, I have no doubt that any fruit grown, especially for selling, is probably checked fairly carefully.

My subsequent question is whether any other communes may also have to send their Autumn leaves to be burned. Living in Versoix, I know that parts of the commune are situated on roads subject to constant traffic (such as the lake road to Lausanne which goes through the centre of Versoix).

Any answers may be brought to the next meeting, on Thursday 8 December, in town!

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