Report: Seine Pollution Levels Still Risky for Paris Olympic Athletes

Report Seine Pollution Levels Still Risky for Paris Olympic Athletes

With just over a month until the games, the pollution levels in Paris’ Seine River make it unsafe for Olympians to compete, according to a monitoring report from the city of Paris.

According to the report, normal samples taken from June 10 to June 16 at several locations along the Seine revealed higher levels of E. coli bacteria, a sign of fecal matter.

Paris organizes triathlon and marathon swimming competitions for competitors to take place in the Seine during the Olympics. According to The Associated Press, the men’s triathlon is the first such event and is set for July 30.

Paris had to clean up the city’s outdated sewer system, which dumps into the river during periods of intense rain, for over $1.5 billion in order to make that feasible. However, the latest data implies that those endeavors may not have been sufficient.

Pollution in the Seine can be significantly influenced by the weather. As to the latest assessment, the water quality was considerably reduced due to the unusually high rainfall in May and the recent wet days.

The absence of bright days or times with less streamflow, which can aid in the reduction of bacteria, was also mentioned in the paper.

According to Helena Solo-Gabriele, a professor in the chemical, environmental, and materials engineering department at the University of Miami, “the sun does inactivate the bacteria.”

Additionally, Solo-Gabriele noted that unsafe fecal matter levels in swimming pools could result in gastrointestinal disorders.

For months, conditions in the Seine have been monitored. Nearly all samples tested negative for permissible levels of enterococci and E. coli, two types of bacteria that are commonly tested for by scientists as a measure of fecal matter.

These findings were revealed by the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation Europe after six months of independent testing.

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“High bacteria means there’s too much poop in the water and poop carries germs that make people sick,” explained Daniel Nidzgorski, an ecologist who oversees King County’s water quality in the state of Washington.

However, he also mentioned that a lot of people are unaware that the majority of E. Coli strains are safe to use and that hospitalizations for diseases associated to swimming are not common.

Although they haven’t done so yet, French President Emmanuel Macron and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo have promised to swim in the Seine to demonstrate its cleanliness.


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