Controversy of the Day

Rio’s water is not clean enough for the Olympics


The sewage levels in Guanabara Bay are too dang high! (Charlie Phillips / Flickr)

Nobody will want to go swim in Rio now. An Associated Press investigation found the water in Rio de Janeiro, where the Olympic games will be held next year, to have pollution levels equivalent to raw sewage. The tests found dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria in the water at venues where the water sports competitions will take place. A few competitors, training in Rio, have already fallen sick with fevers, vomiting and diarrhea.

When Rio de Janeiro won the bid for hosting the 2016 Olympics, it promised to clean up the water by cutting the amount of sewage which flows into Guanabara Bay by 80%. This is where the sailing and windsurfing events are scheduled to happen. To date, they have only managed to reach a measly 49%, significantly up from the earlier 17%, but still not there. They will fail to meet requirement.

Some athletes are not concerned though. Sailors and rowers said they were fine with the water since Brazilians have not caught anything from it. The state environment secretariat also rejected the study and said the quality of water was appropriate in the race lanes. Dr. Richard Budgett, the medical director of the International Olympic Committee said maintaining “normal hygiene, normal rules” will be enough for all athletes. Experts have said such measures are not enough for athletes who will get drenched in the water as the microorganism can enter their body via any opening, including the mouth, ear, nose and cuts on the skin.

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Rio’s water is not clean enough for the Olympics

Anugya Chitransh

Anugya is originally from New Delhi, India. She studied journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York, graduating with a master's in international reporting. She plans to travel one day to all the places she reads about. She likes reading fiction, pop music, and going to the beach, but absolutely hates anyone mangling or shortening her name (which is quite common). She binge watches Korean dramas and anime series. She's a freelance writer and has produced content that has appeared in NBC, The Times of India, Time Out Delhi, and other publications.

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