Swimming in the Seine: Concerns for Olympic Athletes as Paris Games Approach

Swimming in the Seine: Concerns for Olympic Athletes as Paris Games Approach

Olympics

Swimming in the Seine? Not without risk, according to the Surfrider Foundation. — © getty

With just 100 days to go until the Olympic Games in Paris, the NGO Surfrider Foundation warns of the “alarming” state of the waters of the Seine, which will host several Olympic events.

The Surfrider Foundation, an NGO committed to the protection of seas and oceans, carried out fourteen measurements between the end of September 2023 and the end of March 2024 under the Alexandre-III and Alma bridges, where the triathlon and open water swimming will take place. Thirteen of these yielded values ​​“above or well above” the thresholds recommended for swimming.

According to the 2006 European Swimming Directive and the standards of the swimming and triathlon federations, concentrations of Escherichia coli (E. coli) and enterococci – two bacteria that indicate faecal contamination – should not exceed 1,000 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters and 400 respectively. colony forming units per 100 milliliters. Above those levels, the water is considered unsuitable for swimming. Analyzes show that concentrations regularly exceed 2,000 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters for E. coli and 500 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters for enterococci.

During the period in which the analyzes were carried out, bathing in the Seine was not allowed for the general public. This is only allowed in the summer months. However, other analyzes that the city of Paris provided to the French news agency AFP at the beginning of 2024 had already shown that at none of the fourteen Parisian points where water was checked between June and September 2023, the quality was not sufficient according to European guidelines.

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