Rio garbage boats are a brand new and welcome sight for the country that will host the 2016 Olympics. To say that Brazil’s rivers and shorelines are polluted would be an understatement, as they may harbor a danger to the athletes who will make their way to Rio in two years. According to ABC News On Jan. 6, the boats arrived on the horizon last week and they are attempting to clean up decades of garbage, but not equipped for the raw sewage problem in the water.
Rio’s lack of a sophisticated sewage system is a big problem. What they do have treats only 30% of the city’s raw sewage with the rest spilling into the rivers and flowing out to the ocean. The fecal matter tests recently done in the rivers and along the once beautiful Brazilian beaches show that it is at a level deemed not safe for humans by health standards.
This is of concern for the athletes of the 2014 Olympics. This is not part of the clean-up today, what is being addressed is the tangible garbage which is a constant sight along the shores where the boats will be racing in the Olympic events. TVs, refrigerators, plastic bags, bottles, washing machines and sofas along with all sorts of other items are seen littering the beaches at low tide.
This garbage floats just below the ocean’s surface and warnings that coming in contact with one of the bigger items during a race could damage a boat. This is the garbage that three catamarans equipped for picking up garbage floating beneath the surface are hard at work retrieving these items form the water and the beaches of Rio.
According to ABC News:
“Elite sailors have warned that high-speed collisions with floating detritus could damage or even sink sailboats during the Olympics.”
As far as the raw sewage in the water, this is visible more so lately than ever before as a brown foamy substance is building up on the shoreline in patches. This marred the vacations for visitors worldwide who flock to the beautiful and popular beaches during the holidays. Folks are staying out of the water.
The three boats picking up the tangible garbage, is a step in the right direction, but it’s “too little too late,” claims Mario Moscateli, a biologist and an “outspoken environmentalist. He also claims:
"At this point, for the patient that is Guanabara Bay, over-the-counter medicines won't do. What's needed now is chemotherapy, radiotherapy, definitive action."
Just the description of the condition of the water and the beaches coming from reports today seem to stand behind what this biologist is saying about this Band-aid like approach to the situation.
He also said that while the three boats picking up the garbage along the beaches make for some good photos, “it doesn’t even begin to address the root of the problem.”
Now that the condition of Rio’s rivers and shorelines have been revealed in the latest reports, it makes one wonder why the Olympic committee would choose to bring the prestigious world event to this neck of the woods. Especially now that warnings of debris can damage or even sink a boat in the events.
Not to mention the raw sewage pumped into the water for lack of a sewage system that can handle 100% of the waste created by inhabitants of Rio and surrounding areas. Isn’t this a part of their discovery mission when choosing just the right place for the Olympic events?