Raw sewage in waters where Rio Olympic athletes to compete


Rio says it is ready, and in many ways that is true. The sporting arenas are all set for the opening of these games. There are brand new tennis courts, and a swimming pool that cost a $38 million, with pristine waters.

But elsewhere, there is something that this city has failed to fix: Its sewage system.

CCTV America’s Stephen Gibbs reports from Rio de Janeiro.

More than 8,000 liters of untreated sewage flow into the bay, every second. The same water where the sailors, the rowers, and the long distance swimmers are going to compete.

CCTV America took a boat trip with Biologist Mario Moscatelli who has been monitoring Rio’s water pollution for 20 years.

“All you see here are environmental crimes that are committed daily…not only here in the lagoons, but in the Guanabara Bay, everywhere. It can cause respiratory tract problems, irritate your eyes, cause severe headaches, dizziness and vomiting,” Moscatelli said.

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When Rio won the games, the authorities said this would be fixed-by reducing the amount of raw sewage pouring in the sea by 80 percent. That was then revised to 50 percent, and even this lower target has not been met.

Brazil’s sailing coach says the waters are as bad as ever.

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“The condition of the water has not improved, it is just a bit better at this time of year. The only thing that was done is the group of barriers in the Lagoa Marina, around the sewers. And that was done without taking the rain into account, because if it rains it will overflow, and the waste will get out in the same way as before,” Brazilian Sailing Team Coach Torben Grael said.

With the start of the Olympics all the athletes are too focused on the competition to worry much about the quality of the water.

But it’s a disappointment for the residents of this city. They were promised that one legacy of this Olympics would be cleaner, safer water.