Can Paris Clean Up the Seine River Before the Olympics? 

The Seine River in Paris will play a large role in this summer’s Olympics.

This July and August, the Olympic Games will be in Paris, France. The opening ceremonies will take place along the Seine River. There will also be several races in the river. However, there is one problem. The Seine River is polluted. Nobody has been allowed to swim in the river for 100 years. 

A sewer system cleans wastewater from toilets and sinks. The sewer system for Paris was designed in the 1800s. It worked well then. It does not work well now. When it rains heavily, it could flood Paris. Instead, during heavy rains Paris dumps wastewater into the Seine. This makes the water dangerous. 

France will spend $1.5 billion to clean up the river. After the Olympics, the public will be allowed to swim in the Seine River for the first time in a hundred years. Many are hoping this will show other cities how to make their rivers clean again. 

However, organizers face two problems. First, they are running out of time. They do not have a backup plan if they cannot get the river clean. Secondly, they need to convince people in Paris that the water is clean.  Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris, has said that she will go swimming in the river. So will Emmanuel Macron, the President of France. 

What Do You Think?  Do you think it’s important for cities to have clean rivers? Why or why not? 

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