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Rio Olympics Water Is 'Basically Raw Sewage,' Finds AP Investigation

Image: Rio Olympics Water Is 'Basically Raw Sewage,' Finds AP Investigation
Garbage floats in the polluted Cunha canal which flows into the notoriously polluted Guanabara Bay, site of sailing events for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, on July 29, 2015 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 04:15 PM

Rio de Janeiro’s 2016 Olympic Games may be threatened by water severely contaminated with human sewage and teeming with bacteria and viruses, according to a recent investigation by The Associated Press.

The AP investigation, which began with conducting tests in March, found the waters in Guanabara Bay, Copacabana Beach, and the Rodrigo de Freitas Lake are infested with disease-causing viruses that are as much as 1.7 million times the levels that beaches in Southern California would consider to be hazardous.

“What you have there is basically raw sewage,” said John Griffith, a marine biologist who examined the protocols, methodology, and results told the AP of the tests. “It's all the water from the toilets and the showers and whatever people put down their sinks, all mixed up, and it's going out into the beach waters.”

Several athletes who are already training for South America’s first Olympic Games have reportedly recently fallen ill with the fevers, diarrhea, and vomiting associated with the bacteria and viruses found in Rio de Janeiro’s waters.

“This is by far the worst water quality we've ever seen in our sailing careers,” said Ivan Bulaja, a coach for the Austrian team, which has already spent months training on the Guanabara Bay, according to the AP. “I am quite sure if you swim in this water and it goes into your mouth or nose that quite a lot of bad things are coming inside your body.”

However, not all Olympic athletes are concerned with the contaminated water and its potential effects on competitors.

“The problem with the Guanabara Bay has been dragging on for 30 years, since I was a child. There's no point in going on about the quality of the water, the Olympics are going to be in Rio no matter what and so this subject is dead for me,” said Olympic gold medalist Marcelo Ferreira, according to Reuters.

Although the Brazilian organizers initially said that they would cut back on pollution by 80 percent in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games, they have since backed down, saying that they would only ensure that the sailing lanes were clean, according to Reuters.

“We've had reassurances from the World Health Organization and others that there is no significant risk to athlete health,” said Dr. Richard Budgett, the medical director for the International Olympic Committee, according to the AP.

More than 10,000 athletes from 200 countries across the world will descend upon Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and almost 1,400 of them will come into contact with the waters polluted by the sewage and viruses, according to the AP.

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Rio de Janeiro's 2016 Olympic Games may be threatened by water severely contaminated with human sewage and teeming with bacteria and viruses, according to a recent investigation by The Associated Press.
rio, olympics, water, raw, sewage
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2015-15-30
Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 04:15 PM
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