Grael: Golden chance missed to clean Rio bay’s water
Rio de Janeiro has missed a once-ina-lifetime chance to clean polluted Guanabara Bay, the venue for Olympic sailing, Brazil’s most decorated Olympic athlete said in a recent interview.
“We always hoped that having a big event like the games would help,” said Torben Grael.
“We ourselves put a lot of pressure to make it happen, but unfortunately it didn’t happen when they had money. And now they don’t have money, and so it’s even worse.” Grael has won five Olympic medals in sailing: two gold, a silver and two bronze. He has sailed for years in Guanabara Bay and hoped the games would prompt a wholesale clean up. “I don’t think we’re going to see that change now,” he added. “It’s part of the way politics administration goes here. Everything grows very quick and very disorganised.”
Brazil is in the middle of its worst recession in decades, and the state of Rio de Janeiro has been described as “broke”. The state is responsible for maintaining the bay, which has been described as an open sewer by many local and foreign sailors.
Rio treats only about half of its sewage, dumping the rest untreated into the water around the city.
A year-long analysis of water quality found dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria in Olympic and Paralympic venues for sailing, rowing, canoeing, triathlon and swimming.