Rio's polluted lagoons have spilled into the ocean near beaches to be venues for Olympic sport competitions this summer. The contaminated water made pro surfers ill during a recent pro-circuit competition, not to mention the smell coming from raw sewage churned to the surface by storm swells. According to a local biologist the lagoons are "pure shit"; thousands of humans discharge their excrement into the lagoons including Lagoa da Tijuca [video], the site of several new Olympic infrastructure projects, without treatment. Several surfers reported symptoms of nausea, dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea last year after exposure to filthy Rio water. Scientists said Guanabara Bay, an Olympic venue, was so polluted that it was not safe for human contact.
City officials obviously want their city to be a stunning backdrop to world games for viewers and visitors to enjoy. That image is being more that sullied by the severe pollution problems. The unhealthy water could end an athlete's dream of Olympic glory. Despite official promises, the pollution problem will not be solved by the time of Olympic events. It will take more than quick beach clean ups by municipal workers to solve the city's lack of sewage infrastructure. Brazil can apparently afford to host the summer Olympics, but not build sewers and water treatment plants for its citizens.