By the Blouin News Science & Health staff

Rio’s water still sewage-like before Olympics

by in Environment.

Rio de Janeiro. Source: Hector Garcia/flickr.

Rio de Janeiro. Source: Hector Garcia/flickr.

The Zika virus outbreak in Latin America has many concerned over the Olympic Games that will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this year. Indeed, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) concerns about the mosquito-born virus have overshadowed the water contamination issues in local bays and shorelines where Olympians will compete in at least three water events. When Rio received the bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics in 2009, the Brazilian government made a seven-year environmental commitment to clean up the sewage in the surrounding waters. This has not been met.


The government promised to decrease the flow of pollutants into Guanabara Bay by 80% by the time the games ensued. Now, with only six months remaining before the start of the games, environmental secretary, Andrea Correa, said to reporters last Friday that the state would not reach that goal. Correa said that the failure to reduce contamination by 80% would not “at all affect the courses” and that “there’s no big risk for sailors having troubles with illnesses and such things.” Correa added that he was “not worried about water quality in those areas” but he was concerned about floating garbage. The “eco-barriers” — nets strung at the mouth of some rivers — have not been effective in stopping debris from reaching the bay. There are plans to deploy “eco-boats” to patrol the waters in order to collect whatever trash the “eco-barriers” fail to catch…

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