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Can Paris clean up the Seine in time for next year’s Olympics?

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Guardian or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: Ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics, efforts are underway to clean up the River Seine to host various competitions
• The Seine hasn't been fit for public swimming for a century and recent rains have further increased bacterial levels in the water

🔭 The context: The urgency to rejuvenate the Seine comes not just from the Games but also alarming findings from environmental studies indicating that the river's toxicity levels have risen significantly, threatening local aquatic life and potentially the health of Parisians
• However, the city has invested in major infrastructure projects, like the Austerlitz storage basin, to address these issues in time for the Games

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Making urban rivers swimmable can provide relief as global temperatures rise
• Cleaner rivers also support diverse ecosystems — the Seine, which once housed only three fish species in the 1970s, now boasts over 30

⏭️ What's next: A comprehensive assessment of the 19th-century sewer system will be carried out to pinpoint vulnerable spots and prioritize areas for modernization
• Plans are in place to introduce cutting-edge water treatment plants that utilize the latest technology in bioremediation and filtering

💬 One quote: “It is a very big challenge. The timescale for building new sewers... is about 10 years. And the challenge was to make it in only five.” (Prof Jean-Marie Mouchel, a hydrologist at the Sorbonne)

📈 One stat: Every year, 360 tonnes of waste, including old scooters, safes, motorbikes, and TV sets, is pulled from the Seine

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