River Seine Cleaned Up In Preparation For The 2024 Olympic Games

The New York Times

If you want to talk about the most romantic city in the world, Paris is undoubtedly found at the very top of the list. Lovers walk the streets amongst other couples who are out there enjoying the sites and culture that the city has to offer.

Amongst the top-most visited places would be the River Seine. Unfortunately, years of abuse have made it dirty. However, Parisians are beginning to get excited about the idea of swimming once more because for quite some time, dipping into the waters has been unthinkable for them.

The River Seine had been the dumping site of so many houseboats as well as many folks who have contributed to the sewage and pollution. Times have slowly changed because right now, there is a race to prepare the City of Lights for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Many have seen people hard at work as they have been trying to improve the quality of the water, allowing it to be used for the triathlon. But more than that, the river can now be a source of other recreational activities long after the games.

Despite being thought of as the most romantic river in the world, the Seine was about to be ecologically dead. It may have been immortalized in songs, poetry, and art, but to many onlookers, the river already had an unappealing green-brown color. That’s because it was home to millions of waste from the city and its inhabitants.

The $2.3 billion project was started almost after Paris was awarded the games. By 2018, the city had passed a law to mandate the many houseboats around the river to moor by sewage access. Before this happened, they were dumping their waste in the water.

Under the water was a graveyard of discarded bikes, shopping trolleys, tires, and so much more. In fact, a water quality survey in July and August of 2022 saw that the changes were so remarkable and the river was already “overwhelmingly good” and ready to host swimmers such as French triathlete Thibaut Rigaudeau.

“We will be the ‘testers’ I hope we don’t get sick,” Rigaudeau said to  ABC News Australia, also mentioning how people are already asking him questions such as ‘are you scared of swimming in the Seine? It looks disgusting.’

The Seine be the centerpiece of the Olympic Games’ opening ceremony, which for the first time in history, will happen along the banks of the river and upon it, instead of the stadium like it was commonly assumed.

More than half a billion euros will be allotted to large storage basins and other public works so that this reduces the need to let bacteria-laden water spill out into the Seine during the rainy season. Another portion of the government money will be going to the improvement of the sewage treatment plants along the banks and at the tributary of the Marne.

One storage facility is already close to the Paris’ Austerlitz train station, and this could save as much as 20 Olympic swimming pools of dirty water from being flowed into the river in its raw form.

The project is looking past the games for five ideal bathing spots, as the government promises to rejuvenate and excite the entire community around it with a place to go swimming during the summer season.

They have also seen an increase of dish, and if the Seine is anything like the Thames or the Mersey in England, there will be good days ahead for the city.


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