HELP WANTED: (Janitorial) – Candidate must be a strong swimmer with a weak gag reflex. May need to supply their own snorkeling equipment and antibiotics.
We’re only a little more than two weeks away from the opening of the Summer Olympic Games in Rio and the excitement is mounting. Unfortunately, so are the piles of dead fish washing up in the harbor outside of the Olympic Village where some of the sailing events will take place. The fetid masses of algae and clumps of human waste which infest the water, deplete the oxygen and kill off the marine life are not going away, despite the promises Brazil made when they bid to host the games originally. And at this point, nobody thinks that’s going to miraculously change in a fortnight.
As the Washington Post describes it, this isn’t a problem specific to these games. The local fisherman have been despondent over the conditions for years.
In seeking to host the Summer Olympics, Brazil promised “green games for a blue planet.” It pledged to clean up waterways around future Olympic sites, including a lagoon in front of the planned Olympic Park, and to remove 80 percent of the sewage flowing into the bay where most sailing races would be held.
It appears none of these goals will be reached when the Olympics open Aug. 5. Instead of the Green Games, these may be the Filth Olympics…
Jacarapaguá Lagoon is one of four lakes in an interlinked system connected to the sea. The lagoons and many of the rivers feeding into them are heavily polluted. A day earlier, grey scum swirled on the Pavuninha River, which skirts one side of the Olympic Park.
Ferreira and the few dozen fishermen living in the area say they can no longer scrape a living from these waters, which are so polluted that dead fish sometimes float on the surface.
“This lagoon is dead. There is nothing left,” said Francisco Costa, 57, president of their association.
Here’s a brief video report to peruse simply because words don’t really do the filthy conditions justice.
These games are going to be disastrous barring some sort of miracle. Nothing has been done to eliminate all the standing water which is causing an explosion in the mosquito population with the associated fears over the Zika virus. Even for the events which don’t take place on the water, portions of some of the facilities remain unfinished and the country is claiming a financial catastrophe which stops them from sprinting to the finish line. Enough big names from several sports have already withdrawn to the point where those who do manage to win medals will probably have an asterisk next to their names in the record books.
The real question here is why the Olympic Committee approved this bid in the first place. They took it on good faith that Brazil would do all the things they promised on a schedule which would have been challenging for a strong and flourishing economy. After the lesser but still disturbing shortcomings of Sochi in 2014 it’s not enough to simply point the finger of blame at the host countries. It’s the organizers who make these decisions who have to bear the brunt of it because there were plenty of other countries ready to take on the task and who had far more promising resources to accomplish it.
Are we, as Time Magazine recently asked, at the point where maybe all of the future Olympic Games should be held in Los Angeles? After all… a few riots should be small potatoes compared to a pandemic.