The Seine is still far from being suitable for a dip, Source: Depositphotos

3 months before start of Olympic Games, the Seine not ready for swimmers

3 months before start of Olympic Games, the Seine not ready for swimmers

This can end up being a major embarrassment for the French capital, as cleaning up the river was touted as a major green project

The opening ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games is fast approaching, however, it seems that there might be a big scandal brewing given that the Surfrider Foundation, an NGO studying the cleanliness of the world’s waters, announced that the Seine River remains dangerously polluted. The organization based these claims on analyses it had conducted in the past six months, declaring that the state of the river remained unsuitable for swimmers.

The cleaning up of the Paris main water artery was touted by the authorities as one of the cornerstone projects that would promote the 2024 Olympics as the first zero-waste Olympic Games in history. More than merely cleaning up the river, the promise went that its water would be so pristine that several swimming disciplines would take place there – including the triathlon race.

No Plan B either

None other than President Emmanuel Macron and the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, have promised to take a dip in the river before the start of the Games, according to France24.

The entire clean-up operation is reportedly backed by an investment of 1.4 billion euros, which included the construction of water treatment plants (for sewage and storm waters), with a new stormwater facility to be inaugurated this month.

Yet, the measurements show a picture that is not optimistic and could even be quite embarrassing for the organizers.

We are two to three times above the minimum standards required for athletes to be able to compete safely during the season," Marc Valmassoni, Campaign Coordinator for the Foundation, told France Inter. This bacteriological presence of E.coli and Enterococci has potentially serious consequences for athletes, exposing them to pathologies such as gastro-enteritis, conjunctivitis, otitis and skin problems.

According to The Brussels Times, there’s “no plan B” in case the situation doesn’t drastically improve by the summer. What’s more, the plan was that after the Games, the Seine would be open to the general public for swimming, the way it was more than a hundred years ago.



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