Dirty Water in Rio de Janeiro

Can the problem be solved by the 2016 summer Olympics?

Water For Life

All living humans and animals need water to survive. Although there is a lot of water on Earth, only two percent is freshwater, ten percent is used for drinking and household uses, and about 70% is used for industrial purposes and growing crops. Water is a huge necessity for life on earth. An average human can only live up to 3 days without water. As the population of the Earth increases the demand for water will also increase. Most of Earth's freshwater is either being overused or contaminated. About 1.7 gallons of water is wasted every day just from leaky faucets. Water sources are also being polluted by human waste and other harmful chemicals. Burning fossil fuels can also have a major effect on the environment. Chemicals released into the atmosphere can lead to global warming. This causes weather extremes, such as flooding, droughts, and massive storms. Sometimes the droughts will lead to the drying up of of water sources. If we don’t reduce the amount of water we are using and continue to waste water we will no longer exist.

Dirty Water in Rio de Janeiro

The polluted waters of Rio de Janeiro are affecting the 2016 Summer Olympics. With the legally allowed amount of fecal pollution being 195 times higher than the legal amount in the U.S, getting trash such as plastic bags stuck in a rudder can be crucial in a competitive race. There's no single cause of this disaster but they all revolve around the lack of waste management. There are fifteen cities that surround the Guanabara Bay. This means that over eight million residents produce over 18,000 liters of sewage per second. Each day there are thousands of gallons of sewage dumped into the ocean off Rio's coast.

Negative Effects

The water quality has had many negative affects on the community and wildlife. Sailors here have had to add obstacles- everything from TVs, floating bed frames, and dead animals. Along with obstacles the water quality itself is very poor. Health concerns have been raised as people try not to fall ill if consuming any water. People here are being told to drink Coke if inhaling any water. The poor water quality is also affecting the Olympic athletes attitudes towards participating in the upcoming Olympics. Teams are getting nervous and grossed out by the problem that seems to be impossible to fix.

Not Many Solutions For Problem

Most of the solutions to cleaning up this continuous chain of neglect are slow processes or temporary fixes. The biggest problem is the rubbish flowing into the Guanabara Bay from it's 55 rivers. Eco-barriers are being installed at the mouths of these rivers to scoop up the waste. Garbage boats and chains of plastic buoys are being used to scoop up the trash that makes it into the bay. Only one out of the 7 treatment units has been built since 2012 when Rio's government promised to clean it's waters. Along with this, only about 34% of Rio's sewage is treated.
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The photo above was taken on October 23rd in 2013. In the photo biologist Mario Moscatello is taking photographs of the floating trash on the polluted waters of the Canal do Fundao in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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The picture above shows the polluted waters of Rio De Janeiro's Guanabara Bay. This photo was taken in January of 2014, just 30 months away from the Olympic Games.