why do the Olympic occasions happening within the Seine elevate questions? | EUROtoday

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HASfter Jacques Chirac in 1990 who promised to go swimming within the Seine, Anne Hidalgo and Emmanuel Macron in flip indicated their need to dive into the river which crosses Paris. As the Olympic Games strategy, organizers and political figures need to reassure the inhabitants however particularly the athletes concerning the high quality of the river.

Athletes will “take significant risks for their health”

Used for 2 Olympic occasions, the triathlon and open water swimming, now referred to as marathon swimming, the Seine continues to arouse controversy lower than three months earlier than the opening ceremony. In August 2023, the Open Water Swimming Test occasions had been canceled on the final second on account of water high quality “below acceptable standards”, in response to the French Swimming Federation.

The causes given had been then primarily linked to the climate: the distinctive rainfall which triggered the Parisian sewers to overflow, thus bringing wastewater again into the river. As a consequence, the speed of presence of the Escherichia coli micro organism had exceeded the licensed threshold. The latter could cause stomach ache, diarrhea, but in addition vomiting and fever in people.

If the water of the Seine shouldn’t be satisfactory on D-Day, the IOC plans to postpone the date of the occasions. Benjamin Maze, nationwide technical director of the triathlon federation, instructed Release that there was no plan B. “We solely put together for a triathlon, not a duathlon. The athletes are targeted, they aren’t apprehensive, they’re used to the sort of questioning. »

Several NGOs have warned concerning the state of the river's water, which presents dangers to the well being of triathletes and swimmers. Surfrider Fondations notably carried out samples within the Seine between September 2023 and March 2024. And the outcomes are clear, in response to the environmental affiliation. “It seems that out of those 14 samples, taken each following heavy rains and on sunny days, just one allowed our crew to conclude that the water high quality of the Seine was even passable. this given place. It subsequently seems clear that the athletes who will embark on the Olympic and Paralympic occasions deliberate within the Seine will swim in polluted water and take vital dangers for his or her well being. »

A 90 million euro basin to retain rainwater

On the State aspect, we needed to reassure concerning the evolution of the water high quality of the Seine and the upkeep of the Olympic occasions within the river. Marc Guillaume, prefect of Paris, confirmed his optimism at TF1 within the run-up to the Olympics. “We have labored enormously for 4 years to scrub up the Seine […] Today we’ve got outcomes that may permit us to carry swimming occasions this summer season within the Seine. »

The senior official additionally responded to Surfrider's research, believing that it had not been carried out over the suitable interval. “The water remedy models aren’t in operation. The samples had been taken outdoors the summer season season; the Seine shouldn’t be supposed to accommodate swimmers from mid-September to June, together with for security causes. » To deal with rainwater and enhance the standard of the Seine, a big 50,000 m basin3 was constructed close to the Austerlitz station. Estimated quantity: 90 million euros.

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This construction ought to permit the authorities to keep up the occasions of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, even within the occasion of heavy rainfall like final 12 months. The triathlon will happen on July 30, 31 and August 5, whereas the marathon swim will happen on August 8 and 9. Just earlier than, in June, Anne Hidalgo assured that she would participate in an enormous dive within the Seine, with the intention to reassure the final skeptics in view of the Olympics.