Barely anything seems to be going the right way in the buildup to the Rio Olympics, which is showing potential to be the ‘worst ever’. The latest concern to be raised is the unhygienic condition of the Guanabara Bay, which will host the sailing and wind-surfing events at the next month's Games.
“Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from all those microorganisms,” Dr. Daniel Becker, a local pediatrician was quoted as saying by the New York Times. “It’s sad but also worrisome.”
The officials have already accepted their failure to sanitize the bay, which is reportedly teeming with viruses and toxins.
“Our biggest plague, our biggest environmental problem, is basic sanitation. The Olympics has woken people up to the problem,” said Andrea Correa, the top environmental official in the state of Rio de Janeiro told New York Times.
Afrodite Zegers, a member of the Dutch sailing team, who has been practicing in the Guanabara Bay has said that the athletes are just keeping their mouth shut while sailing through these waters. He said, “We just have to keep our mouths closed when the water sprays up.”
Tonnes of raw sewage is being dumped into the bay regularly, and a lot of members of Spanish and Austrian sailing teams have already fallen ill. Back in 2009, Brazil pledged to spend $4 billion to clean up 80 percent of the sewage that flows untreated into the bay, but it has failed miserably so far.
“They can try to block big items like sofas and dead bodies, but these rivers are pure sludge, so the bacteria and viruses are going to just pass through,” said Stelberto Soares, a municipal engineer.