The city of Rio de Janeiro, set to hold the upcoming Olympics during the summer of 2016, has some serious work to do before it will be “Olympic ready.” Rio, which contains a population of over 10,ooo people, has a lack of modern sanitation and rivers that contain pollution and trash flowing to one central location, the Guanabara Bay.
According to Rio de Janeiro’s Deputy State Secretary of Environment, Gelson Serva, only 34 percent of Rio’s sewage is treated, while the remainder is spilled raw into surrounding bodies of water. One of the biggest problems facing the city is a lack of political support and follow through, according to local biologist, Mario Moscatelli. The rivers that are feeding into Guanabara Bay are dead, and no life remains in these sewage and garbage filled rivers. However, this isn’t the first time the Olympics have faced a potentially hazardous health situation. During the previous Olympics held in Beijing, the city was required to make a significant effort to reduce smog and visible pollution in time for the Olympics.
How does a nation begin to fix the problem that took years to create? Along with several other efforts, the biggest solution is to acquire a squadron of eco-boats to clean the water. Eco-boats work by patrolling the rivers while scooping up garbage, deceased animals, and whatever else may surface in the rivers. The boats operate similarly to a skimmer used to remove waste in a residential pool, except they contain large-scale skimmers that get the pollution below the surface.
It is not only an honor, but a privilege to be selected as the next city for the Olympics. This coveted selection is a hotspot to improve tourism, and it provides a significant amount of money to the host city. In the agreement to be the host city in the Olympics, however, Rio agreed to clean up the Guanabara Bay, and the city still has a tremendous amount of work to do.
Luckily, Rio is roughly two-and-a-half years out before the Olympics commence. Their efforts with eco-boats, along with education and political support, should ensure a thrilling and sanitary Olympic ceremony in South America.