“We were at our first olympic team qualifying race and we capsized. I think it was a sofa, because… something like that… really solid hard” … “In a top-level competition that’s the end of the race”…
This words were pronounced by Thomas Low-Beer, a 24 aged brazilian sailor training in Guanabara Bay, the sailing venue for the 2016 Olympics and the site of Rio’s first test event in 2½ months. You can see Thomas interview in full on this video.
Rio’s pollution unfortunately is not new
Laserista.com has time talking about Rio’s water pollution, even before city being named next Olympics host, as you can read on Una nueva isla de basura, esta vez frente a Rio article we published in March 2011.
Most other well known brazilian sailors are warning about quality of water in Guanabara’s Bay such as Torben Grael, who said that “Possibly this will be the worst Olympics water quality in history”. You can check Torben Grael’s full article we published in September 2013.
Although Rio’s Olympic bid included a promise to clean up the filthy bay, industrial and human pollution still remain a major problem. According to the Deputy State Secretary of Environment, just 34% of Rio’s sewage is treated while the remainder flows untreated into the waters. They have only two years to clean up this terrible mess.
Last month Sail-World reported an admission by the Rio environment department that 800,000 tonnes a day of effluennt flows into the river system that ends in Guanabara Bay.
News now says Sailing’s governing body may conduct independent water-quality tests in Rio de Janeiro’s polluted Bay.
Alastair Fox, head of competitions for the International Sailing Federation, told Associated Press the body is likely to test on its own, hoping to allay athletes health concerns. “If the IOC are not conducting water-quality tests, then I think it is very likely the ISAF will” Fox said Monday in an email. “Certainly compared to most sailing venues, the water quality is very, very bad.”
Danish Olympian Allan Norregaard, a bronze medalist at the 2012 Olympics, said Guanabara was “the most polluted place I’ve ever been.” Other sailors interviewed called it an “open sewer.”
Nearly 70 percent of Rio’s sewage goes untreated into its waters. Exposure to fecal matter can cause hepatitis A, dysentery, cholera and other diseases.
Despite health major issues, competition is also threatened. “If someone picks up a bag, or hits a sofa or something like that, then clearly that is going to affect them in the race,” Fox said.
Certainly we must follow this information.