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Paris scrubs River Seine swim race

PARIS, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Paris police blocked a planned swimming race in the River Seine because they said the water was still too polluted.

The Prefecture de Police de Paris said in a written statement this week the Sept. 2 "Swim Across Paris" would not be allowed to take place because of the "manifestly insufficient quality for swimming."

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The organizers of the event said they were somewhat surprised at the flat "no" from the city since the Seine has been on the upswing in recent years.

"We were surprised about the PP's [police] statement on water quality," event organizer Laurent Neuville, a former French Olympic swimmer, told France 24. "We'll be doing everything we can to get them to reverse the decision, including conducting new analyses of the water."

France 24 said the quality of the Seine has indeed been improving since the 1980s. The river is home to about 30 species of fish compared with only three in 1970; however, swimming is still banned.

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