Paris 2024 Olympics and the Seine. Will there be a bathing area?

Olimpiada w Paryżu

Paris, which has attracted artists, culture lovers and tourists for centuries, is facing one of the biggest challenges in its history. The Paris 2024 Olympics will be held in Paris, among other places. On the waters of the Seine. A year before the event, and a century after the bathing ban, the river will be in the spotlight. Paris authorities have decided to take on the ambitious challenge of making its waters swimmable in time for the 2024 Olympics, so that it can become the venue for some swimming competitions. Moreover, for the first time in history, the opening ceremony on July 26, 2024. is to take place on the banks of the Seine, rather than in a traditional stadium.

An impressive €1.4 billion has been allocated to meet the goal. This gives the Seine River a chance not only to become a sports venue during the Olympics, but also a permanent recreation spot for residents and visitors to the French capital. Today, on the eve of this one of the biggest sporting events, the whole world is watching with interest whether the Paris Olympics will be held as planned, whether this ambitious challenge will be met, and whether the Seine will once again become the recreational heart of Paris.

Causes of Seine pollution

The Seine, one of Europe’s most famous rivers, has been a living symbol of Paris for centuries. Over time, however, it has become a victim of technological advances and urbanization. Population growth in and around the city, industrial development and urban expansion have had a direct impact on the river’s water status. The Paris Olympics is the perfect excuse to try to solve at least some of the problems. Outdated plumbing systems, which are common in many parts of the city, have become a source of sewage leaks into the Seine.

Many of the boats that use the river discharge pollutants directly into its waters. Urbanization has brought with it an increase in the number of buildings, roads and other structures that have altered the natural flow of surface water. Instead of soaking into the ground, rainwater flows directly into the river, carrying with it pollutants from the streets, such as oil, heavy metals and other toxins.

However, it was not just the city’s infrastructure that was at fault. The industry, which is a source of prosperity for many residents, is also one of the main culprits of the river’s degradation. Factories teeming along the shores released industrial waste in uncontrolled quantity and quality, introducing harmful chemicals into the waters. The lack of proper regulation and oversight has turned the Seine into a dumping ground for industrial waste. In 2019. Officials have raised the alarm that a fire at a factory in Rouen could result in toxic chemicals leaking into the Seine River. The following year, the LafargeHolcim cement plant was accused of dumping dangerous silt, concrete and plastics into the river. There are unfortunately many such examples. The Paris Olympics will focus the eyes of the whole world on this city, so the pressure is high.

Also, agricultural development around Paris has increased the amount of pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals that run off into the river. These agricultural pollutants have not only affected water quality, but also aquatic life in the Seine.

What measures were taken before the Olympic Games?

Reducing pollution in the Seine by 75 percent to allow swimming in its waters is a very ambitious goal. There is not much time left before the start of the Summer Olympics in Paris.

The project seeking to transform the polluted river into a safe place for bathing includes activities such as:

  • Improving the performance of wastewater treatment plants;
  • Construction of a huge underground storage tank to prevent bacteria from entering the river with sewage (during rainfall);
  • Reducing the amount of waste introduced into the river by houses and houseboats;
  • Permanently monitoring the locations of five sites along the Seine prepared for swimming during the Olympic Games.

All these measures are aimed not only at restoring the Seine River as a bathing place, but also at improving the quality of life for residents and tourists. This is another benefit of the Paris Olympics.

Paris Olympics – first test failed

In less than a year, the Olympics will begin in Paris, but the first attempts have already been made to hold competitions in the open waters of the Seine. A dress rehearsal for the Olympic format of the event was to be held on August 5-6, but – due to too much pollution in the river – it was decided to cancel it. The French Swimming Federation (FFN), in consultation with World Aquatics (an international federation), said the water quality was “below acceptable standards.” Such a condition can be explained by unusually high rainfall, which caused contaminants to enter the canals of Paris in many places along with runoff water, causing the acceptable level of Escherichia coli bacteria to be greatly exceeded. World Aquatics has set the standards at 1,000 CFU per 100 ml.

Hosting the Games is a huge challenge, and work is still underway to improve water quality so that next year’s Olympics in Paris will take place without any obstacles. The international federation is confident that the infrastructure projects will be completed on time, which will significantly improve water quality and every athlete will be able to feel safe competing for the highest trophies.

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