Pollutec: 40 years of environmental innovation

This year, Pollutec celebrates its 40th anniversary.
Thorben Wengert, pixelio.de

Pollutec 2018 will incorporate 14 broad themes (Water Resource Management; Network Management; Collection, Cleaning and Cleansing; Waste Treatment; Recycling, Reuse and Materials; Sites and Soils; Instrumentation, Metrology and Analysis; Air, Odour and Noise Management; Risk Prevention and Management; Energy Production and Storage; Energy Efficiency of Products and Processes; Urban Planning and Mobility; Biodiversity and Natural Environments; Pavilions and Institutions (support, training, research…)) and enables the development of interdisciplinary, integrated solutions such as sustainable cities, sustainable industry – infrastructure, networks, connections – and markets relevant to specific needs and expectations: seas and coasts, hospitals, the tertiary/service sector, rural and agricultural areas.

As an international exhibition, Pollutec offers three broad regional focuses this year: Africa, South-East Asia and South America. The Africa space was launched in 2016 and has become a meeting point for project holders from 22 countries across the continent. After Ivory Coast in 2014, another French-speaking African country is honoured this year – Burkina Faso (see box). Pollutec will also be a stopping place at the 2020 Africa-France Summit on the theme of sustainable cities announced by French President Emmanuel Macron in Ouagadougou.

The circular economy: an obvious issue at Pollutec
The circular economy is a set of practices designed to preserve natural resources – air, water, soil and raw materials – and use them more efficiently while avoiding waste. It means rethinking the ways we design, produce and consume in order to optimize resource use and reduce environmental impact, including waste production. Presenting goods and services with a low environmental and energy impact along with solutions for reuse or recycling and new materials recovered from waste, Pollutec has been contributing to the goal of a circular economy for many years.

For the 2018 exhibition, the organizers are going further still by organizing the very first international summit for cities and regions committed to the circular economy in conjunction with greater Lyon. The event will include plenary sessions, themed operational workshops and local authority/business speed-dating sessions in order to encourage the implementation of local projects based on cooperation between public and private players and civil society. A call for expressions of interest has been issued and shared via all the exhibition’s partner networks – French, European and international – to identify and include in the programme projects and experiences relating to the various dimensions of the circular economy and the methods and priorities of its implementation in several countries. The summit will take place on 28 November in partnership with Ademe, other French organizations – such as the Eco Maires network, the Institut de l’économie circulaire, Orée, the Centre international de ressources et d’innovation pour le développement durable (CIRIDD) – and UN Environment. Visits to model sites in the Lyon area will be organized on the previous day.

Pollutec also offers several specific events designed to illustrate the transformation towards circular models in several industries – ELVs (end-of-life vehicles), WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) such as mobile phones, construction site waste and end-of-life vessels – including live dismantling sessions.

Burkina Faso, Country of Honour
A West African country with no access to the sea, Burkina Faso has an economy that is heavily reliant on agriculture – it is Africa’s leading exporter of cotton, for example. This means adapting to climate change is a particular concern here, along with the development of renewable energy, including major solar power projects. The country has experienced high levels of growth over the last two years (+5.9% in 2016 and +6.4% in 2017). Its cities are growing fast, including Bobo Dioulasso (+11% a year) and the capital Ouagadougou (+7.2% a year), and have to deal with the resulting problems: pollution, transport, healthcare, etc. In this context, over 1.7 million people have recently benefited from the Urban Water Sector Project conducted with the World Bank.

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