Olympic Hopeful: Why Rio’s Water Isn’t Making the Cut

Olympic Hopeful: Why Rio’s Water Isn’t Making the Cut

If you can believe it – the 2016 summer Olympic Games are only a few weeks away. With the world’s eyes on Brazil and millions of tourists flocking to the region – is the country ready? Checkout the article from Mission: Water magazine to find out.

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Below is a short teaser:

“Every four years, since the late 19th century, athletes gather together from around the globe to compete in the largest sporting event in contemporary times, the Olympic Games. This summer over 10,000 athletes, culminating years of preparation and dogged determination, will go for the gold in Rio de Janiero.

Of the 10,000 athletes competing in the 2016 summer games, about 1,400 are engaged in outdoor water Olympics - Mission: Watersports. Whether it’s rowing, sailing, canoeing, triathlon, or distance swimming, five out of the 42 summer Olympic sports will take place in bodies of water in and around Rio.

When most of us think about Rio, we picture a tropical oasis of beaches, water, surf, and sun. Visions of Copacabana beach along the Atlantic Ocean, with suntanned natives and an active night life, are typical visuals that come to mind. These images are much different than the stark reality that awaits the Olympians as they travel to Brazil this summer. Household waste and raw sewage, and the infestation of the bacteria that accompany them, have been the norm in the waters in the shadow of Christ-the-Redeemer statue.

Many of Rio’s poorest residents live in broken-down slums, tarpaper shacks built on top of each other, pressing up to the banks of sewage-blackened rivers. Clumps of waste float listlessly by, the surface bubbles with escaping gases, penetrating the air with a sulfuric stench as it makes its way into nearby Guanabara Bay. Not exactly a tropical oasis, nor an ideal setting for world-class athletes.

Brazil is the world’s seventh-largest economy, but struggles on the world stage when it comes to access to water and sanitation. A fiscal crisis that shook Brazil in the 1980s largely froze sewer investment in Rio for two decades, and it took another decade for regulations divvying up responsibility for those investments between the municipal, state, and federal governments.

During that time Rio’s population experienced explosive growth – from around 9 million in 1980 to 12 million today, and the situation was compounded by poor city planning, political infighting and economic instability.”

Mission: Water is a new magazine featuring the organizations and researchers who tackle the world’s most challenging water issues. It highlights the latest trends in instrumentation and research applications, while also offering additional educational resources on environmentally-focused matters.

Our goal is to help you stay informed about topics relevant to you. Our inaugural edition will cover articles ranging from monitoring Nepal’s sacred rivers to examining coral bleaching events off the coast of Panama; research on fish diversity and nutrient recycling in Africa’s Lake Tanganyika and much more!

Download the inaugural edition for free!

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