Rio 2016, athletes warned to swim with their mouths closed

Tre prove dei Giochi Olimpici si terranno nella baia di Guanabara, dove sono stati riscontrati alti tassi di inquinamento. “Gli atleti rischiano di sentirsi male”.

Guanabara Bay, Brazil, is one of the venues of the Rio Olympic Games, which will be held from 5 to 21 August 2016. The area, though, is so polluted that researchers have issued a warning. “Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from all those microorganisms,” said Dr. Daniel Becker to the New York Times.

Swimmers, sailors and windsurfers will compete in Guanabara Bay

Aside from (seemingly) heavenly beaches in Rio, the quality of water in Guanabara is anything but idyllic. Still, Olympic athletes including swimmers, sailors and windsurfers will compete in this stretch of water. “We just have to keep our mouths closed when the water sprays up,” said with unhopeful irony Afrodite Zegers, a member of the Dutch sailing team.

Rio de Janeiro olimpiadi inquinamento
Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will be one of the venues at the 2016 Olympic Games. But its water is highly polluted © Yasuyoshi Chiba/Afp/Getty Images

But this is nothing new. In 2015, during a sailing competition in the Bay, organisers reported that 25 per cent of athletes were affected by nausea and diarrhoea. On the other hand, 2016 Olympic Games organisers minimised the situation by saying that all the areas meet the World Health Organisation’s standards.

Rio olimpiadi inquinamento
A kid jumps in the sea, despite pollution ©Luiz Souza/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Brazil pledged to a 4-billion-dollar clean-up

The promises made by Brazilian authorities 7 years ago haven’t been kept. The government had claimed that 80 per cent of the Guanabara Bay would be decontaminated and that 4 billion dollar would be funded for a huge clean-up. But only 170 million have been given.

Guanabara rio inquinamento
© Yasuyoshi Chiba/Afp/Getty Images

There’s more. Some scientific analyses conducted by the University of Rio de Janeiro show that the stretches of land delimiting the bay, which will be stormed by tourists and attendants over the course of the Olympic Games, are polluted and filthy as well.


Featured image © Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images

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