After 100 years, Parisians have been told they will soon be able to swim in the Seine river once again, thanks to anti-pollution work.
Swimming has been banned in the river since 1923, due to high levels of pollution. Animal life in the river was also affected, but things seem to be turning around – for creatures and humans alike.
Efforts to transform the river began in 1990 when Jaques Chirac was mayor, and he promised to embark on cleaning up the river. The current mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has since invested some serious cash into reducing pollution in the Seine, committing €1bn (£879m) to restoration efforts.
Reportedly, wildlife has begun to return to the Seine, thanks to transformative initiatives that have reduced pollution in the river to far safer levels. Fish that once thrived in the river up until the early 1900s have begun to return, including salmon, eels, and catfish. Tourists and Parisians will no doubt follow soon, with plans to lift the ban on swimming in the Seine in 2025.
Swimming will be permitted in 23 places across the capital, including some in the city’s centre.
Cleaning up the Seine is just one of the measures Hidalgo is implementing ahead of the 2024 Olympics, which will be hosted by Paris. The closing ceremony will be held at the Trocadéro, which is just across from the Seine; just another reason why cleaning up the iconic river has been so important.
Inspired to act?
DONATE: Give to River Cleanup to help keep plastic out of our rivers and oceans.
GET INVOLVED: Volunteer with The Rivers Trust to help clean up your local waterways.