Delegates, dignitaries, fans and most especially athletes have already begun arriving in Rio for the upcoming 2016 Olympics. With their arrival however, also comes a warning about the poor water quality in the city.
In a 16-month study conducted by the Associated Press (AP), results revealed that the waterways of Rio de Janeiro are still contaminated with raw human sewage containing what could be life threatening viruses and bacteria.
And the risk is not only among the more than 1,000 athletes who will be participating in Olympic water competitions.
Tests also showed that even the tourists could also face potential risks of becoming seriously ill because of the water problem, which affects the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.
“Seeing that level of human pathogenic virus is pretty much unheard of in surface waters in the U.S. You would never, ever see these levels because we treat our waste water. You just would not see this,” said Dr. Valerie Harwood, who is the Chair of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida, in an interview with the AP.
Another doctor named Daniel Becker was interviewed by the New York Times and made a disgustingly shocking statement when he said that athletes will “literally be swimming in human crap” and run the risk of becoming very sick should they ingest the water.
Air quality has also been a major concern among the athletes and sports committees. Despite having promised that the air quality in Rio was “within the limits recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO)”, another report has shown that this is not the case.
Based on tests conducted by the AP and an analysis of the government’s data, Rio has consistently had a PM 10 (because particulate matter has a diameter of 10 microns or less) two to three times the recommended amount of the WHO meaning it will be one of the countries to have the dirtiest air during the Olympic games.
Will the poor air and water quality in Rio affect the performance of athletes? Maybe. But for a lot of them, they will literally have to just suck it in.
PHOTO COURTESY: Wojtek Mejor/ Flickr