PtG Article 04.07.2014

Greenpeace reports confirm concerns about Rio water pollution

Reports on the level of pollution in Rio’s Guanabara Bay reinforce doubts about the waters’ suitability as a 2016 Olympic venue.

A clean up of Rio de Janeiro’s waterways was one of the promises made in Brazil’s Olympic bid in 2009. The Rio waters would be "setting a new standard of water quality preservation for the next generations", the bid said.

According to an AP report in May, Rio's state environment secretary, Carlos Francisco Portinho, has sent a letter to Brazilian sports minister Aldo Rebelo, in which he acknowledges that the water quality is so poor that even with added funds for the cleaning of the water, a significant reduction of pollution levels will take more than a decade.

"Even if the necessary resources to implement sanitation systems in the waterways mentioned were released, it would not be possible to plan and implement all the projects within a timeframe that would make a significant difference in the water quality in Guanabara Bay by the 2016 Olympics," the letter stated, writes AP.

Two Greenpeace reports from 2000 and 2002 respectively show that the bay holds significant concentrations of both metallic contaminants, including copper, lead and zinc as well as persistent organic pollutants like PCBs, DDT and HCH.

In a comment on the website, Steven V. Selthoffer doubts that Olympic events can even take place in the bay.

“Based on the data from the Greenpeace reports and other media stories on pollution contaminants present and measured in Guanabara Bay, it looks like it will not be possible to hold the Olympic sailing event in the bay, and may most likely, cause authorities to reevaluate holding the 10K Open Water Swimming event and the first leg of the Olympic Triathlon at any end of Copacabana beach,” he writes.



Read Steven V. Selthoffer's comment here:

Rio official water pollution targets wont be met (AP):