With the Olympics just over a week away, concerns over the water quality in Rio are resurfacing.
It’s been known for some time that Rio’s waters are highly polluted, with one study finding it akin to raw sewage. Yet, even months later, after clean-up efforts, there doesn’t seem to be any improvement.
According to The New York Times, Rio officials and health experts say that not only have the clean-up efforts fallen short, the water conditions are worse than previously believed.
That’s leading to simple advice from health experts to Olympians: keep your mouth shut. Because as Dr. Daniel Becker, a local Rio pediatrician told the Times, the water is quite dirty.
“Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from all those microorganisms,” Dr. Becker said. “It’s sad but also worrisome.”
According to the Times, government and International Olympic Committee officials say the waters in Copacabana beach, where swimmers will race, are not that highly polluted. They also say that venues “with higher levels of human waste”, like the aforementioned Guanabara Bay, will not pose a risk to athletes getting limited exposure.
Nonetheless, this remains a problem, and it’s safe to say that any level of human waste in the water is too much human waste.