Like New York City’s Hudson River, Paris’ Seine is pretty to look at, but not exactly a body of water you want to jump in. The City of Light is looking to change that as it prepares to bid for the 2024 Olympics.
Paris’s City Hall released a plan this week which would make parts of the Canal Saint Martin clean enough to swim in by 2017. This cleanup, they hope, will entice the Olympic committee to favor the city for the upcoming summer Olympics, as a number of competitions (like the triathlon) would use the open water.
The famous river used to be home to sporting events, but a triathlon was canceled in 2013 because of the water quality. Currently, people are banned from swimming in the Seine due to harmful bacteria levels and face a fine if they disobey. Many people have still taken the plunge despite the warnings, and a massive illegal swim was staged last year in the Canal de l’Ourcq.
Clearly, there’s a demand for locals and tourists alike wanting to take a dip, so the city is looking into a variety of options to complete their ambitious project. The good news is that it’s not the first time something like this has been done. Cities like Copenhagen and Zurich have successfully cleaned up their rivers and made them completely swimmable.