Downstream Sculling: Experts Warn Brazilian Pollution Poses Health Risk To Athletes

220px-GB_Pair_at_Henley_2004220px-Jacuecanga_Angra_dos_Reis_Rio_de_Janeiro_Brazil_BrasfelsMany people who have been to Rio de Janeiro (including myself) were surprised when the city was selected for the 2016 Olympics due to the rampant crime and pollution in the city. Now, as expected, experts are warning that efforts to curtail both are well behind schedule and could present dangers for athletes and visitors alike. The danger is most acute for athletes who will compete in the waters around the city. The average fecal pollution is 78 times about the permissible level of the Brazilian government. Currently, Coxless Pair may be breathless as well.

If you visit Rio, you will be astonished by the proximity of the slums to the tourist beaches just on the other side of the mountain. Roughly 70 percent of all sewage in Rio goes untreated and that untreated sewage is 195 times the level considered safe in the United States.

The problem is massive and the government has been slow in responding with the games approaching. With a 70 percent of untreated sewage in a major city, Rio has to bring the city into the modern age in only a couple of years. There are 6 million people in the city and seven out of ten have their waste discharged directly into the waters and environment.

Unless massive changes occur, rowers on Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas will be competing in waters with regular massive fish die offs and dangerous level of fecal pollution. Athletes faced the same type of dangers in China, which went through extraordinary measures to clean up waters. However, International Olympic Committee was widely criticized after China did little to curtail air pollution. It did not matter. The IOC has weathered bribery and corruption scandals with little evidence of reform. It followed up the Beijing games with the selection of an equally polluted Rio.

Notably, the Brazilian government has used Japanese money to clean up Rio’s Guanabara Bay, but the $700 million seems to have sunk beneath the pollution in the lake with little impact. Corruption is the most cited culprit.

It seems another example of dubious record of the IOC.

9 thoughts on “Downstream Sculling: Experts Warn Brazilian Pollution Poses Health Risk To Athletes

  1. The Olympics haven’t been about athletes for a long time, decades. A few years a go it was suggested that the IOC was a fascist hangover. I thought that was a bit harsh at the time but I am not so sure now. The places they choose for the Olympics and the comfort level they have with regimes that are hostile to human rights, free speech and even human health makes me wonder what on earth is their reason for existence. Unfortunately its MONEY. Money doesn’t care about pollution, free speech or human rights. In fact, money can be and often is hostile to those who fight pollution and support free speech, human rights and human health.

  2. To eradicate pollution that is ruining all of us –because it does not recognize borders– we are going to have to ignore borders as well.

    Unfortunately that is not yet happening in an adult manner:

    Representatives of most of the world’s poor countries have walked out of increasingly fractious climate negotiations after the EU, Australia, the US and other developed countries insisted that the question of who should pay compensation for extreme climate events be discussed only after 2015.

    The orchestrated move by the G77 and China bloc of 132 countries came during talks about “loss and damage” – how countries should respond to climate impacts that are difficult or impossible to adapt to, such as typhoon Haiyan.

    Saleemul Huq, the scientist whose work on loss and damage helped put the issue of recompense on the conference agenda, said: “Discussions were going well in a spirit of co-operation, but at the end of the session on loss and damage Australia put everything agreed into brackets, so the whole debate went to waste.”

    (Poor countries walk out of UN climate talks). A planet divided against itself where the peoples are poisoning themselves is destined to catastrophic ruin.

  3. I guess that if your city isn’t polluted you have no chance of hosting the Olympics. Oh by the way All you tree hugger ought to get down there and save the rain forest

  4. I am a tree hugger and I save the rain forest by not buying books or toilet paper. No newspapers. No wood on the doghouse– all plastic.

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