News / Americas

Rio Resorts to Stop Gap Clean-up of Bay to Host Olympic Sailing

A plastic bottle and a tire are seen near a fishing boat on Fundao beach in the Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, March 13, 2014.
A plastic bottle and a tire are seen near a fishing boat on Fundao beach in the Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, March 13, 2014.
Reuters
Rio's attempts at cleaning the waters where Olympic sailing events will be held in 2016 are so far behind schedule clean-up efforts are now stop gap rather than lasting, local officials admitted on Thursday.
 
“Cleaning rubbish from the Guanabara Bay will be a stop gap effort,” said Carlos Portinho, the state's sub-secretary for the environment. “But it's what we have to do.”
 
Portinho, who took office this week and is charged with cleaning the bay's notoriously fetid waters, criticized the urban districts that surround the bay for contributing to the pollution.
 
“The municipalities are on the coast of the Guanabara Bay and they don't think the rubbish thrown in the bay is their responsibility,” he said.
 
Portinho said tenders for seven “ecoboats” that will skim garbage from the water's
A garbage-collecting boat in seen in front of the Sugar Loaf mountain at the Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, March 12, 2014.A garbage-collecting boat in seen in front of the Sugar Loaf mountain at the Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, March 12, 2014.
x
A garbage-collecting boat in seen in front of the Sugar Loaf mountain at the Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, March 12, 2014.
A garbage-collecting boat in seen in front of the Sugar Loaf mountain at the Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, March 12, 2014.
surface and nine “ecobarriers” designed to stop rubbish from flowing into the bay from tributaries are scheduled to take place this month.
 
Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent on cleaning the bay - much of it from foreign donors - but the situation remains critical.
 
The bay is an integral part of Rio de Janeiro's topography and skirts large parts of the city, most famously running along Botafogo and Flamengo beaches below Sugarloaf mountain.
 
Tourists to the city who cross the bay when driving in from the international airport are greeted by a fetid stench. Sailors have expressed disgust at the high level of coliforms and other pollutants.
 
Reuters reporters who sailed on the bay last month came across all sorts of floating debris, including an old sofa.
 
When it won the right to host the games back in 2009, Rio promised it would treat 80 percent of the sewage water flowing into the bay by the time the games start in August 2016.
 
However, almost five years later, only half that target has been reached, said Gelson Serva, the state's waste water coordinator.
 
The scandal over dirty waters is just one of the problems facing South America's first ever Olympic host city.
 
Earlier this week, 17 international sporting federations criticized Brazilian authorities for the slow pace of work and a lack of institutional support.
 
Construction work at a purpose-built complex where eight events will take place has yet to start and the pace of work at others is slow.  Workers have been on strike for a week at the Olympic Park, the main cluster of venues.
 
In spite of the river of bad news, Rio officials maintain that everything is under control and that the Games will be “great.”

You May Like

Photogallery Ukraine: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Brazil Enters Recession in Pre-election Blow to Rousseff

Experts say left-leaning policies have dented consumer and business confidence and caused heavy losses for financial investors
More

New Brazil Poll Shows Silva Beating Rousseff in Runoff

Outcome seemed unimaginable just a few weeks ago; would put an end to 12 years of Workers' Party rule
More

Argentina Desires Deal Grouping All Holdout Investors Together

A deal is now not seen likely before next year's October presidential election, in which Fernandez cannot run
More

Hurricane Cristobal Kills Four, Moves Toward Bermuda

Storm is not expected to threaten US, but could cause deadly surf and rip currents from Florida to North Carolina
More

Peru's Congress Narrowly OKs Humala's New Cabinet on 3rd Vote

Lawmakers ratify president's embattled cabinet after ruling party offers to suspend rule requiring independent workers to pay into a pension program
More

Brazil's Deadly Prison Riot Ends

Officials say two inmates were beheaded during the Cascavel riot; two others were thrown to their deaths from the roof, and police are investigating how a fifth inmate died
More