Athletes competing in swimming and boating competitions in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are facing new challenges now that they will be contending in polluted waters.

 

According to an Associated Press investigation, the water at Rio’s Olympic sites are contaminated with human feces. A water quality analysis showed that there are dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria in the water that resulted from raw waste running from open-air ditches to their rivers.

 

“It’s all the water from the toilets and the showers and whatever people put down their sinks, all mixed up, and it’s going out into the beach waters. Those kinds of things would be shut down immediately if found here,” said marine biologist John Griffith.

 

According to Kristina Mena, an expert in risk assessment for waterborne viruses, there is a 99 percent chance of infection for the athletes if they ingest three teaspoons of the polluted water. Athletes swimming in the water could face fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.

 

Those competing by boat are also at risk, despite the fact that they aren’t directly in the water. The viruses in water that splashes them can enter their body through the eyes, mouth, and any cuts they may have.

 

Trash floats on the water next to a barrier in a canal at the Mare slum complex in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, July 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Trash floats on the water next to a barrier in a canal at the Mare slum complex in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, July 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Brazilian officials have said that the water will be decontaminated by next summer, but they have promised to clean their polluted water for decades with no results. Not even Rio’s Governor, Luiz Fernando Pezao, has faith in the cleanup job, and has stated that “there’s not going to be time” to clean the water before the Olympics.

 

With the water likely to stay contaminated for another year, athletes will have to consider heading to Rio early for training to build up an immunity to the viruses before the games begin.

 

Is there enough time to clean the water for the 2016 Summer Olympics? What problems will this cause during the Olympics? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.