Guanabara Bay, the place for the 2016 Olympic sailing competition has seen a lot of criticism from the athletes, journalists and of course the sporting officials. A lot of initiatives were taken to clean the Rio waterways, including help from Swiss organizations, but they weren’t successful.
Even though the International Olympic Committee’s President Thomas Bach is playing down the seriousness surrounding the polluted Rio waterways, Press TV has reported that the waterways in Rio are still not clean and pose a serious threat to the athletes who will be participating in different events on them.
The Associated Press has revealed that there has been a 16-month long study that was undertaken on the Rio waterways and the report from the same state that the Rio waterways still contain a large quantity of raw human sewage. This brings in question health hazards with the presence of dangerous viruses and bacteria. The athletes and visitors are seriously considering the risk to their health from their presence on the Rio waterways.
Switzerland came forward to help Brazil clean the Rio waterways since they understood the need for preserving water in the country. Swissnex Brazil even started an initiative at the Guanabara Bay that worked to remove trash from the people’s ocean.
Swissnex Brazil is a research and education collaboration office. They have organized a series of educational and artistic events in Rio and Niterói to discuss the necessity to solve the issue of the polluted Rio waterways.
The initiative by the Swiss organizations to clean the Rio waterways is going to continue even after the Rio Olympics. With the initiative to clean the Rio waterways still on, biomedical experts have advised the athletes and visitors not to put their head under water.
There have been studies conducted on samples of water collected from the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, where the rowing events of the Olympics Games are going to take place, and they have tested positive for 248 million adenoviruses per litre. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the adenoviruses causes illness and death, and it is also likely to result in bladder infections and diarrhea.
Tests have been conducted on samples collected from Gloria Marina, where the sailing races will be held. The adenovirus concentration in these water samples is also very high, increasing the cause for worry about the high level of pollutants in the Rio waterways. If the athletes swallow even a few gulps of the water, they will be infected with the virus and will be unable to continue in the Rio Olympics as they will fall ill.
The polluted waterways in Rio is only one of several issues that Brazil is facing. When Brazil had bid for the Olympic Games, it had claimed that the air quality in Rio was within the limits recommended by the WHO.
This claim doesn’t hold true at this point in time. Rio has crossed the WHO limits for air pollutants, especially for particulate matter.
Records are claiming that 12 million people die in Rio’s metropolitan area because of complications and health conditions arising from living in a polluted environment. Experts have come out to state that the standard air condition in Rio is definitely in tune with the recommendations made by the Olympic committee. While there is a lot of debate and discussion on the Rio waterways, it should be noted that more people die because of polluted air than dirty waterways.