Hey, remember when everyone thought the Sochi Olympics were going to be a mess?
With the start of the 2016 Summer Olympics just over a week away, the waters around Rio where athletes will compete are still disgusting, toxic, and dangerous, according to a new report from The New York Times.
Multiple tests have shown that there are still huge amounts of trash, human waste, and pathogens in the waters this close to the start of the games, including “rotaviruses that can cause diarrhoea and vomiting” as well as “drug-resistant ‘superbacteria’ that can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems.”
“Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from all those microorganisms,” Dr. Daniel Becker, a local pediatrician, explained to the Times. “It’s sad but also worrisome.”
Brazil claims that the waters where swimmers will compete meet World Health Organisation standards. Windsurfers will compete in a more polluted area, but the government says it’s fine since they won’t be exposed to the water as much. So, you know, don’t fall in.
“We just have to keep our mouths closed when the water sprays up,” said Dutch sailor Afrodite Zegers.
It’s not just the athletes who are at risk. The water is filthy even on upscale beaches where some of the half-million Olympic spectators will probably take a dip, and of course, the locals are always dealing with the country’s massive sewage problem.
When Rio made its bid for the games back in 2009, Brazil pledged to spend $4 billion to clean up the water, but only ended up spending $170 million. Critics claim that most of what has actually been spent was wasted on cosmetic fixes, like trash-collecting boats that pick up larger items and dead bodies but do nothing to remove the potentially deadly microorganism infesting the waters.
The Olympics start on August 5.
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