Olympians Deserve Better Than Rio's Toxic Water

Thu Jul 28, 2016 17:03:39PM
Categories: Summer Olympics
2016 Olympic hosting city Rio de Janeiro By: chensiyuan

Would you swim in water that has been described as toxic? Would you take a row boat into sewage? How about go sailing in a fecal matter infested ocean? Might you kayak or canoe your way through a super-bacteria filled sea?

Olympians at Rio are braver than I.

Alright, last question - would you play sand volleyball in a bikini or just your shorts at the Copa-Copacabana , if the stadium were just next to a beach where random human body parts floated up to just days prior? And just to pile it on, and drive home the point:

"Some athletes will be competing in [Rio Olympic] waters that contain over a million times more contamination than levels allowed in US waters." - taken from the vid below, a good watch.

Just how did the 2016 Olympic's chosen locale of Rio de Janeiro create such an unmanageable waste dump of their share of the ocean and lakes? Infrastructure neglect it seems, mainly by poor city planning and an extreme lack of decontamination machinery, that mixed with rapid growth of the city's slum population since the 1960's.

But I'm no reporter. More of just a collector/hoarder of information:

What Happens When There’s Sewage in the Water?
AP Investigation: Filthy Rio water a threat at 2016 Olympics
For Olympic Sailors And Fishermen Alike, Rio's Dirty Bay Sets Off Alarms
The Promise Rio Couldn't Keep
Drug-Resistant 'Super Bacteria' Found on Olympic Beaches in Rio Where Athletes will Compete: Report
Olympic swimmers warned to keep mouths closed in Rio waters

That's merely 6 of literally hundreds of articles with similar titles, all sounding outrage and alarm over the water conditions the Olympians will face when they travel to Brazil's Rio de Janeiro.

Athletes will face the very real and likely scenario of getting sick from simply coming into contact with the polluted and infested, virus filled water. I feel like I am repeating myself. Oh well. Can't be said enough.

So what's to be done? Either the athletes can simply opt out. Or they can wear special virus-protectant (antimicrobial) suits, like they have lined up for the rowers. Or everyone can collectively hope that the city pulls off a small miracle, and keeps the water games sequestered to only the watered areas that are not polluted. For that miracle though, even for their massive statue of the Christian messiah himself, seems wishful thinking. Rio has had years to do something about this mess. And for whatever dozens of reasons, they simply have failed to do so.

They were supposed to install 8 water treatment plants, after they won the bid for the Olympics. Since then, they have installed.. just one.

Another quote to close this PSA out, this time from a CBS morning show:

"Nearly 1400 Olympians will compete in water events, and experts say they have a 99% chance of infection, if they ingest just 3 teaspoons of water. Dozens of athletes have gotten sick during training in Guanabara Bay, where the pollution is the worst."

Guana-bara? C'mon now, it's in the name. What did you expect?

Sorry. Had to.

So for the Olympians in the sports of Marathon Swimming, Rowing, Sailing, Kayaking and Canoeing that will compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics, my hat's off to you. You are braver than I. And I feel for you. Golfers have opted out of competition at Rio for the unlikely scenario of coming down with the Zika virus (to pile on even more.. least we even mention the crime issues and extreme poverty in Rio, that's for a whole other blog).

Golfers are opting out, and they don't even have to touch the water. I sincerely hope that the 99% stat is a stretch of the truth, and that all the work that those 1400 Olympians have put into honing their craft over the last 4 years is not all in vain.

Aight, I'm done. Enjoy some Manilow.

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