The upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro have been widely criticized for unsafe working conditions, dangerous crime and unsanitary conditions. Some of the worst conditions can be found in Rio’s waterways and things are looking grim just six months before the Olympics.
Just how bad is the water? Probably worse than you could even imagine.
Several studies found that some waterways, including Guanabara Bay and the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, that will host Olympic events in August have levels of contamination akin to raw sewage, while several others have large buildups of trash in the water and along the shore.
The waterways, which the Brazilian government claimed would be mostly cleaned up prior to the Games, are horrifying. One Brazilian sailor reportedly hauled entire TV sets out of the water while training. Other anecdotes detail garden chairs, plastic bags, tires and other garbage littering the water. That’s in addition to the actual sewage content in the water which will be waiting for athletes.
While the government has essentially given up on trying to improve the conditions, athletes are preparing and planning for the worst.
Athletes are trying to combat the conditions — some will wear plastic overalls, receive vaccinations, use loads of sanitizer, or take fast and frequent showers after races. Some are simply going to compete, then return home to cleaner conditions and more medical options.
Two things are clear heading into the 2016 Summer Olympics: The disgusting water is going to be a big talking point and safety hazard and the decision to award Rio with the Olympics continues to look like an incredibly poor decision.