PARIS – The corporate "caravan" that motors across valleys and mountains ahead of the cyclists competing in the Tour de France has been a crowd-pleaser for decades, but ecologists want organisers to put an end to the avalanche of plastic it generates.
Every day of the Tour, the event's corporate sponsors cover the route in a column of open-backed trucks that stretches for kilometres, throwing out snacks, drinks, t-shirts, keyrings and other objects, many of them made or wrapped in plastic.
Organisers say that by the time this year's event ends on the Champs-Elysees boulevard in Paris on Sunday, 15 million freebies will have been tossed to the crowds.
They say that a few years ago it was 18 million, but the environmentalists says the "Tour de Plastic" has to do more.
"The giving away of 'goodies' has to be totally rethought. The ecological emergency demands action," Green party lawmaker Francois-Michel Lambert told Reuters.