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2016 Olympics: Brazil successfully improving water quality

'Eco-boat in operation at Rio - July 31, 2014'    © Juerg Kaufmann    Click Here to view large photo

Top international photographer, Juerg Knaufmann (SUI) has been in Rio de Janeiro at the venue for the 2016 Sailing Olympics and reports that the serious issues surrounding the water pollution at the race venue are being mitigated.

He writes:

After one week in Rio for me there are three points which are becoming apparent:

1: The water is still dirty, it smells even bad in some places, but most of the time specially during the day with the current it’s not so bad. I'm talking about the race courses until the bridge. There are still a lot of plastic bags and others floating around and I think they are the major risk at the moment for the sailors during the race.

2: Days ago our head coach did some water test and we did send the water to a independent lab to get a neutral view. Will get the final results in two days as they are in translation, but the bottom line, and it’s incredible, is that the water is within the accepted norm. We also saw a turtle today and some of our sailors saw some dolphins…serious. For sure the water is far away from what I’m used on our alpine lakes in Switzerland.

3: Looking back at the Stars Worlds four years ago here in Rio the water quality has really improved a lot. I remember we had a race in the future medal race course and I simply could not use any photo as the water was so brown and some times even black.

Olympic Marina - Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro -     Click Here to view large photo

But now it’s different. If you look at the presentation below from the Mayor's office you will see what apparently has been done and what is planed until 2016.

We can complain about the water quality but probably we are experiencing a massive ecological change project.

The Games are in two years and being an outsider it’s difficult to predict what will happen until the Olympics.

The Chinese managed to solve the problem of algae, I hope the Brazilian will manage to solve their water management.

Below is a long presentation from the Mayor's Office, presented to media and team officials last week, which outlines the state of the pollution in the bay and the measures being undertaken to mitigate the issues and sources of pollution, before putting in place permanent solutions to the issues.

by Richard Gladwell/


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12:26 AM Mon 4 Aug 2014GMT

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