Rio’s water is still a toxic cesspool, according to the athletes forced to brave it for a high-level surfing competition that took place on its foul brown shores earlier this month. What a fun Olympics this will be!
“It’s undoubtedly the dirtiest water we surf in but it’s the only major city we compete in, too,” pro surfer Adrian “Ace” Buchan told PRI’s GlobalPost. “Regardless, I think the water situation in Rio is dire.”
Pro surfing won’t make its debut as an Olympic sport until the 2020 games in Tokyo, but no matter: Plenty of other top-notch athletes will get their chance to splash about in the poo water this August, namely, those competing in rowing and canoeing events in the city’s Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon.
The official Olympic website boasts a spate of “infrastructure improvements” being made to the so-called Lagoa Stadium, but with work having only commenced in April, is hope for effective renovation really feasible? Shrug! Local biologist Mario Moscatelli is less than optimistic.
“Excuse my frankness, but the rivers feeding into the lagoons are pure sh—,” he told the GlobalPost, adding that “the feces of thousands of people emptied into the river without treatment.”
The culprit this time around was a set of large swells that made their way to Rio shores last month, churning up, um, “noxious gases and filth” that until then rested deep on the ocean’s floor.
But even without environmental abnormalities, Rio’s water has proven time and time again to be composed mostly of garbage and disease. Copacabana beach—the venue for marathon and triathlon swimming—has been lauded as one of the city’s least polluted areas, and still samples taken from its waters were found to contain roughly the same concentration of viruses found in raw sewage.
I’m not a real doctor, but I’m going to go ahead and advise athletes to keep their mouths shut.
Photo via AP.