Olympic Organizers have finally made a partial U-turn on their position to only carry out bacterial testing to now test for viruses in their ever alarmingly polluted event locations.
Perhaps this is due to the press that have unleashed and feasted upon the scoop of the Rio games with athletes falling ill from viral gastroenteritis to others getting infected with MRSA. These photos and stories are far more powerful than the real objective evidence such as independent bodies like The Independent Press who carried out a 5 month test, categorically proving that the levels of viruses present in the water are dangerously high.
The decision making process seems to be another hurdle with event organizers more inclined to try to treat the water than actually change the event. One question that arises is what is causing all of this pollution?
The first thing to look at is Guanabara Bay itself. It is over 28km long and 31km wide and Rio de Janeiro sits inside it as well as its neighbouring industrial town Nitéroi which are connected by a 13km bridge that spans the bay. Oil rigs exist in the bay too with the most recent spill still causing a hazard to the ecosystem. But perhaps the most concerning factor of all is the untreated sewage that runs into the bay from all the 6.2 million Rio inhabitants.
If the government had followed through with its promise to build seven new sewage treatment plants then perhaps there would not be as much of a problem for the athletes taking part. However it is more than likely that the media interest will continue to mount.
From an outsider perspective, one would imagine that such a worthy investment could be a silver lining for a games that has until now been so crowded in controversy as to whether the government could spend the taxpayers income in a more appropriate manner than another international sporting event after having seen so much money already be wasted recently.