Athletes, tourists at Rio Olympics risk 'violent illness' from sewage-filled waters
Aug 07 2016
Plans to revamp Rio's infrastructure, including massively upgrading its sewage and water-cleaning capabilities, have been dented by the economic downtown that has affected Brazil since the Games were awarded.
Stomach-churning images show putrid streams of waste flowing into the Rio de Janeiro bay - the same water athletes will dive into next week.
The study shows high levels of contamination from pollution, including raw human sewage, in both the competitive locations and at the city's premier tourist beaches.
"We would never risk the health or condition of any athlete for a competition", Mario Andrada, chief spokesman for the local Olympic organizing committee, told the Associated Press (AP). "It's sad but also worrisome".
German sailor Erik Heil blamed the bacteria-infested waters for a skin infection he got while training. "You are not obligated to drink water from Guanabara Bay, but you must breathe Rio's air".
Rio has long had problems meeting the World Health Organization's limits for risky air pollutants known as particulate matter (PM), mostly on account of the high volumes of vehicles clogging up the city's roads and emitting exhaust fumes into the atmosphere.
Expert to Rio athletes: "Don't put your head under water". "The athletes will compete in safety".
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While athletes take precautions, what about the 300,000-500,000 foreigners expected to descend on Rio for the Olympics? "You just would not see this".
However, the accuracy of bacterial testing is up for debate, with a growing consensus believing that such tests are not suitable to all climates.
Authorities, however, said athletes and visitors will be safe, and the sailing arena has internationally acceptable levels of bacteria.
In a timely boost for Los Angeles' bid for the 2024 Games, the United States is getting a second member on the International Olympic Committee's ruling executive board.
Previous competitions in Rio's waterways have ended in sickness for athletes.
At this point, it's too late for Brazil to properly clean up Rio's befouled waterways for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. A recent AP report suggests anyone who ingests more than three tablespoons of the stuff is going to contract a virus, and even those who stick to the sand at Copacabana Beach may not be safe either.
IOC President Thomas Bach issued another defense of his handling of the Russian doping scandal Monday, saying the decision not to exclude the entire Russian team from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics was based on human rights...
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