LafargeHolcim accused of polluting Paris river


BWI is calling on French authorities to leave no stone unturned in their investigation of leaked liquid into Paris’ Seine River from a plant belonging to Franco-Swiss cement giant LafargeHolcim, sparking public outrage. 

Since September, French media has reported that hundreds of liters of toxic wastewater have been spilled in the river composed of a mixture of cement, wastewater treatment liquid and plastic microfibres. 

BWI said that if it is proven that the leak was intentional, LafargeHolcim violated the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development. It called on the company to drastically improve its risk management processes and protocols, which have been proven to be wanting in other parts of world, such as Nigeria.  

The toxic spillage was first reported in August 2020 at LafargeHolcim’s concrete power plant located on the docks in the south-east of the city. This prompted the Paris prosecutor's office to conduct an investigation. The Minister of Ecological Transition indicated that those responsible will be prosecuted.

While LafargeHolcim acknowledged the spillage, it insisted that it had been a victim of sabotage. BWI said that the incident is reminiscent of a similar case in April 2019 when cement was released in the Seine River. The Vinci Construction Group, which admitted to the "involuntary flow," was fined EUR 50,000.