*Feature Image: A man diving has been super imposed on the image of Seine river in Paris. Photo: istock/TFN
When the French capital hosted its first Olympic Games in 1900, swimming competitions took place in the river. Parisians used to bathe in the Seine in centuries past, until it was banned in 1923 due to pollution.
The opening ceremony, which is traditionally held inside the host city’s Olympic stadium, will take place on the river, with at least 600,000 people expected to watch from the banks, according to organizers.
Then a number of races will take place on the river during the Olympics.
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“At the Paris 2024 Games, the athletes will inaugurate swimming in the river with the Olympic events. A revival that will pave the way for aquatic leisure,” reads a statement from Paris city hall published July 10.
Works under the 1.4 billion-euro ($1.55-billion) plan to clean up the Seine have been underway for years now, but the Olympic games has had a galvanizing effect.
Two disinfection units at wastewater treatment plants run by the Paris region public sanitation service will be operational from this summer, and structures that will help to improve water quality, such as a rainwater storage basin, are under construction.
The basin will hold rainwater and gradually release it into the sewage network, preventing pollution when wastewater overflows during periods of rain.
From 2025 the public will be able to swim in the Seine at three bathing sites: Bras Marie, Bras de Grenelle and Bercy, according to city hall.
“The swimming areas will be marked out by buoys and a pontoon to get to them, with spaces to change, shower and store your things on the quay,” it said in a statement. In addition, around 20 other potential swimming sites have been identified in the greater Paris region.
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