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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

Menu Logo Principal CNRS-INEE Allenvi RECOTOX

RECOTOX, initiative for research in ecotoxicology-toxicology

OPALE - Observatory of Agricultural Pollution in the French West Indies

The Observatory of agricultural pollution in the French West Indies is an observatory in tropical conditions composed of two equipped catchments : one in Guadeloupe and the other one in Martinique. It is dedicated to the study of the fate of pesticides (including Chlordecone) in the environment according to agricultural practices.

For further information, go to the OPALE website at the bottom of this page.

Profile :

The OPALE observatory is located in the French West Indies in Guadeloupe and Martinique. It is composed of two study areas : rivers Pérou-Pères hydrosystem (25 km²) in Capesterre-Belle-Eau in Guadeloupe, and the Galion catchment area (40 km²) in Martinique. Previously called OPA-C, the OPALE observatory was accepted in the frame of the call for projects of the Chlordecone National Action Plan – catchment (PNAC-BV) in may 2012. This project, lasting from 2012 to 2014 enabled the implementation of two equipped catchment in Guadeloupe and Martinique. It was made possible thanks to a partnership between the BRGM, CIRAD, IRD and INRA.


Location of the Martinique and Guadeloupe sites of the OPALE observatory

Location of the Martinique and Guadeloupe sites of the OPALE observatory (source :

RECOTOX site characteristics :

Located in Capesterre-Belle-Eau in Guadeloupe, the Pérou-Pères rivers catchment covers 25 km² and is on the edge of the volcano « la Souffrière ». It is composed of ashy soil on a recent geological formation. The Galion catchment area in Martinique covers 40 km² and is located on well-developed soils with old geological formation. Thoses two sites are typical of tropical conditions with the leaching of soils with a high organic matter content. They enable to cover the main crops specific of the French West Indies : sugar cane and banana. Therefore, those two sites have been affected by a heavy use of chlordecone between 1972 and 1993.


Contribution to RECOTOX dynamics :

The OPALE observatory aims at monitoring the agricultural practices and surface or groundwater contamination on a small agricultural area. Focusing initially on chlordecone, the observatory then broadened its study to all the French West Indies ecosystem pollutions. Beyond the data collection and production, the observatory aims to share and pass datas on to the scientific community and a broader public.


Contact :


Website :


Hosting organization : CIRAD / INRA / IRD / BRGM