A new report raises troubling questions about the safety of the water being used for the next Summer Olympic Games, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016. That report reveals that water which may be used for swimming and boating events is highly contaminated and could cause serious illness.
The study, which was carried out by the Associated Press, revealed high levels of viruses and bacteria in Olympic and Paralympic venues in Rio. Much of the contamination can be linked to the dumping of human sewage in nearby waterways. According to some local reports, a number of athletes preparing for the games have already become sick as a result of swimming in the waters.
Health experts say that, should athletes come into contact with this kind of infected water, they could immediately experience upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting. It could even lead to significant heart and brain diseases.
It’s an ominous finding given that more than 10,000 athletes from over 200 nations are set to converge on Rio for next year’s Olympics, which get under way in early August 2016. It’s expected that more than one in ten of those athletes will come into contact with the water that’s currently polluted.
John Griffith, a Southern California-based marine biologist, says Brazilian officials have their work cut out for them. “What you have there is basically raw sewage,” Griffith said.
“It’s all the water from the toilets and the showers and whatever people put down their sinks, all mixed up, and it’s going out into the beach waters.”