France threatens 2024 Olympics due to pollution of the Seine River

France threatens 2024 Olympics due to pollution of the Seine River

Elizaveta Volkotrub

Only one out of 14 water samples showed that the river was safe for swimming

Triathlon and swimming competitions at the 2024 Olympics may be postponed or canceled due to contamination of the Seine River in Paris.

The public environmental organization Surfrider Foundation warns of an "alarming" level of pollution with E. coli in the river, Euronews Green reports.

As it became known, the environmental organization took water samples in the Seine River and the analysis showed a high number of fecal bacteria enterococci and E. coli.

"It is clear that the athletes who will participate in the Olympic and Paralympic Games on the Seine will swim in polluted water and will be exposed to a serious risk to their health," the organization said.

The Seine is reported to be polluted by untreated sewage. The Surfrider Foundation blames this on faulty sewage systems, as well as waste from barges and houses along the river's banks.

It is known that the city authorities of Paris allocated 1.4 billion euros for the cleaning project to solve this problem. However, according to analysis conducted by Surfrider, these measures have not yet produced the expected results.

Over the past six months, the environmental organization's team has collected 14 water samples – both during the dry season and during the rains. Only one sample was of "satisfactory" quality, others showed alarmingly high levels of enterococci and E. coli faecal bacteria, with E. coli levels four times higher than normal.

In response to Surfrider's research, the city of Paris noted that the water samples were collected during the rainy months, when contamination is more likely. Officials expressed surprise that the report was released at such a time.

"Sena is not intended for swimming from mid-September to June. For safety reasons, you can swim in it only in summer," the authorities said.

However, the president of the Paris organizing committee, Tony Estanget, admitted that there is a possibility of a complete refusal to swim in the Seine.

"There is also an option of a solution that we cannot follow – these are the rules of the international federation. Of course, we want to avoid that," said Estange.

According to the rules he cites, if the water is deemed too polluted, the event can be turned into a duathlon or canceled altogether. It is noted that the river plays an important role in the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

As EcoPolitic previously reported, Brazil and France announced a joint investment plan of 1 billion euros for the next four years, which will be aimed at protecting the Amazon rainforest, developing the bioeconomy, creating a market for carbon quotas and supporting indigenous communities.

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