Nathalie, 40, lives in Trois Rivières, a city in the French island of Guadeloupe. For decades, this overseas French ‘département’ have been facing water shortages. Why residents of this island do not have access to tap water? French authorities had been negligent in building and renovating water infrastructures on this island, as more broadly on most of the French overseas territories.
But as Nathalie explains, her tap water is unsafe because of the chemical substance ‘chlordecone’. This obsolete insecticide, now banned in the European Union, was used and overused for years for Guadeloupe’s bananas plantations. And while this insecticide is banned since 1993, it has been used illegally for years, endangering the lives of the entire population and biodiversity of the island. While many legal actions were launched, they all have been dismissed by judges.
While French authorities timidly recognised this health scandal, it is having a lasting environmental, economic, social and human impact. Nathalie explains her life without safe water at home and how challenging the situation can be for her and her family, especially as she has a toddler. “It is not longer baby first, but the water first” she told Sphera member @streetpress .