Thousands Of Dead Fish Wash Up On Rio’s Olympic Shores

Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro has been known for a whole host of things, including sailing and the beautiful view one can experience of the Sugar Loaf Mountain. But recently, the Bay in Rio has been known best for its polluted waters.

In October, 2009, it was announced that Rio de Janeiro would be the location for the 2016 Olympic Games. This would be the first time the Olympics were hosted in South America. Of concern, however, is the state of the Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, where the sailing events are scheduled to be held. Thousands of fish have washed up on the shores of the Bay, leaving a foul odor that blankets the air. According to Yahoo! News, Scientists are baffled by the appearance of the dead fish on such a large scale, as they do not believe it to be as a result of pollution. And boy, is the water polluted, as evidenced by the comments of Thomas Low-Beer, a Brazilian sailor to The New York Times.

It can get really disgusting, with dog carcasses in some places and the water turning brown from sewage contamination.”

A bulldozer was used to remove more than 20 tons of dead fish and four sea turtles from the Rio Bay, according to Yahoo! News. Scientists have deduced that the occurrence is not as a result of chemical or toxic water pollution, but may rather be as a result of lack of oxygen in the water caused by what they referred to as thermal pollution.

The Guanabara Bay of Rio de Janeiro is the endpoint to much of the citizen’s waste, including their fecal matter. That is, the waste of eight million residents, who produce approximately 18,000 litres of sewage per second. Of all this, only 34 percent of Rio’s sewage is treated, the remainder is spilled as is, into Rio de Janeiro’s waters. Leona Deckelbaum, Coordinator of an NGO referred to as My Rio, said the fecal matter in the Rio Bay is 198 times higher than the limit established in the U.S.

In January, BBC News reported on the state of Rio’s Olympic waters when it covered the Brazil Sailing Cup.

The area is heavily polluted and sailors here have to add evading obstacles – everything from TVs, floating bed frames and dead animals – to their skills. In addition they must never swallow any water.”

In June of this year, Bloomberg reported that Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor, Eduardo Paes, said that the Bay won’t be cleaned for the Olympics in 2016 but that the games would be held at the entrance of the Bay or outside of it.

Rio de Janeiro earlier this year had taken initiatives to clean the Bay, installing barriers at the mouth of the river and ‘eco-boats’ to scoop up waste.

[Image via ibitimes]