Just days ahead of the Olympic Games the waterways of Rio de Janeiro have not seen a change after a floating corpse was spotted where the Triathlon and Swimming events are expected to take place at Ganabara Bay.
Filthy, raw human sewage, dangerous viruses and bacteria, rubbish and rats, are some of the words which have been used to described Rio’s sea water quality. Obviously, promises to clean up and restore Rio’s waterways have faltered and will not happen in time for the world’s biggest sporting event.
Some 1,400 athletes risk getting violently ill in water competitions, not forgetting potentitally thousands of tourists who will be taking to the golden beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana.
The survey of the aquatic Olympic and Paralympic venues has revealed consistent and dangerously high levels of viruses from the pollution, a major black eye on Rio’s Olympic project that has set off alarm bells among sailors, rowers and open-water swimmers.
Athletes have been advised against putting their heads underwater, but that won’t be possible for swimmers.
A study has shown viral levels in the bay is up to 1.7 million times what would be considered worrisome in the United States or Europe. At those concentrations, swimmers and athletes who ingest just three teaspoons of water are almost certain to be infected with viruses that can cause stomach and respiratory illnesses and more rarely heart and brain inflammation – although whether they actually fall ill depends on a series of factors including the strength of the individual’s immune system.
While local authorities including Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes have acknowledged the failure of the city’s water cleanup efforts, calling it a ‘lost chance’ and a ‘shame,’ Olympic officials continue to insist Rio’s waterways will be safe for athletes and visitors. The local organizing committee did not respond to multiple requests for comment, though it has previously said bacterial testing conducted by Rio state authorities has shown the aquatic venues to be within state guidelines.
To pile on the problems, the ramp for sailors collapsed under high tide last week, and repairs are underway to rectify it before the games’ opening in a few days time. Rio, oh Rio, you’re really have to pull out a few rabbits out of the magician’s hat this time.
Source: Daily Mail UK