Concerns are still mounting over the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro,
Reports have been released that athletes competing on or in open waters — as opposed to chlorinated pools — will face a biological hazard.
The UK’s Independent reports:
Athletes competing in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil have been warned by doctors, engineers, and scientists to keep their mouths shut while participating in activities in the water.
Researchers found that many of the beaches in Rio de Janeiro have been long contaminated with raw sewage, household garbage, and even dead bodies, creating hazardous swimming conditions for the 500,000 people expected to descend on the city in August.
“Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from all those microorganisms,” Rio pediatrician Dr. Daniel Becker told the New York Times. “It’s sad but also worrisome.”
Despite promising two years ago to clean up the pathogen infestation rampant in Guanabara Bay, the Brazilian government has failed to do any such thing.
Now experts report the waters that will host Olympic athletes are rife with bacteria, viruses, human fecal matter — and even dead bodies.
The rivers feeding into the bay are being screened for larger items, but nothing can be done to stop the sludge from passing right through.
The Zika virus is of particular concern, as Rio de Janeiro is the epicenter of the entire global health crisis regarding the virus.
The only solution that has been offered to the athletes who will be in and on these waters is to keep their mouths closed.
While most aquatic events take place in chlorinated swimming pools, long-distance swimming and rowing events take place on open, natural bodies of water.
Even boat crews who are on top of the water will still have to worry about splashes getting on their faces and in their mouths.
The International Olympic Committee is steadfastly insisting that the quality of the waters meets World Health Organization safety standards.
But one municipal engineer, who is familiar with Rio’s sanitation problems going back decades, says, “the government’s efforts to clean the waters were superficial at best.”
Fishermen report that the pollution is so bad in the bay, that the innards of fish caught are black with oil and muck.
Concerns are quite high over how the Rio Games will play out.
Traditionally, hosting the Olympic Games serves as both a major boost to the local economy and as an advertisement for the quality of the host city for long-term tourism.
However, it appears the 2016 Games may only serve to embarrass the Brazilian city and scare tourists away.
Rumors are still circulating of unfinished Olympic venues and rampant crime in the streets.
Expectations are increasing that these games will be a disaster, but many are quick to point out Rio’s long history of successfully hosting major world sporting events.