For the fifth consecutive year, the Lafarge group has teamed up with the city of Paris for the Paris Plages operation. Lafarge will provide and ensure the river transport of the 2,400 tonnes of sand needed for the various sites (the Hôtel de Ville, the children's area and the beaches set up on the riverside, the Voie Georges Pompidou and the Bassin de la Villette).
Through this partnership, Lafarge, the world leader in aggregates and the Paris region’s main producer, is making its contribution to the life of the city and its summer festivities. The operation demonstrates the utility of sand, an essential material for the city. Indivisibly linked with river transport, it also shows how environmentally-friendly this means of transportation is.
Aggregates, a key material for urban development
With more than 400 million tonnes produced every year in France, aggregates (sand and gravels) are the third most commonly used raw material around the world, after air and water. Every French citizen consumes 6 tonnes a year for housing and travel. Aggregates are one of the key ingredients used in concrete and play a fundamental role in urban planning and construction. For instance, the 185m high T1 tower, the second highest at La Défense, currently under construction, requires around 100,000 tonnes of aggregates. For the Stade de France, 300,000 tonnes were needed, and between 100 and 300 tonnes of aggregates are required for building an individual house.
In 2006, more than 30 million tonnes of the material were used in the building, civil engineering and roadwork industries in the Paris region, including some 4 million tonnes for urban renovations within the centre of Paris.
City and environmentally-friendly means of transportation
Within Paris, aggregates produced in Lafarge quarries located in the Parisian basin are for the most part transported by water, on the Seine and its navigable tributaries. This choice represents a major environmental advantage for Paris and the Ile-de-France region. The use of water transport frees up the roads. What's more, is safe, economical and punctual, and creates no sound pollution or traffic jams. Lafarge prefers this means of transportation for delivering to concrete plants located on the banks of the Seine. These plants produce modern day stone – ready-mix concrete – using a mixture of aggregates, cement and water. This is then delivered to Parisian construction sites.
The delivery of 2,400 tonnes of sand for Paris Plages in a single river convoy saves the equivalent of around 100 lorries and perfectly demonstrates the Group’s ecological approach.
The choice of river transportation falls in line with the Lafarge Group’s sustainable development strategy, which brings together industrial efficiency, value creation, the respect of people and cultures, environmental protection, and the economy of natural resources and energy. Today the Group’s expertise in the area of quarry rehabilitation is well recognised. It reduces both negative environmental effects while encouraging biodiversity and taking into account local needs and water management.