The International Olympic Committee is learning about the Third World as reports continue to flood in of murders, super bacteria, filth, pollution, and mayhem at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics venue.
Body parts have washed up at the volleyball venue, the American Olympic rowing team have sewage-proof suits, police say they are unable to protect tourists, and drug-resistant super bacteria have been found in the bay.
Just six days ago, parts of a dismembered body were found along Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, just a few steps from where Olympic volleyball players will be competing.
A photograph of the body—a mutilated corpse wrapped in black plastic—was publicized after a local policeman was punished when he sent a photo of the grisly scene with this message via WhatsApp:
“Things in Rio are getting worse. I’m on duty here in the headquarters of BPTur (Police Battalion in Tourist Areas). They just found a dismembered body on Copacabana Beach behind the volleyball arena they are constructing.”
The super bacteria originates from human sewage and has been found in all of Rio’s Olympic and Paralympic water venues, including Guanabara Bay, and the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon—where the rowing competitions are to be held.
The sewage proof suits issued to the Americans are knitted with an “anti-microbial finish,” and have “water-repellant features” which the manufacturer claims will “keep the rowers dry.”
The level of the filth is however probably too high even for this protective measure.
“They [the athletes] will literally be immersing themselves in very high levels of pathogens,” Katherine Mena, who researches waterborne pathogens at the University of Texas School of Public Health, told media. “The infection risk will be pretty high.”
Mena was one of the water quality experts who helped analyze data collected by the Associated Press during its investigation of Rio’s water. They found “unsafe levels” of fecal bacteria, enteroviruses, rotaviruses, and adenoviruses in every water sport venue.
According to Wired.com, Rio de Janeiro’s “waterways are about as clean as a dirty toilet bowl,” because “raw sewage literally flows into them every day.”
Meanwhile, a group of Brazilian scientists has detected a drug-resistant bacteria growing off some of Rio de Janeiro’s beaches.
According to a report by CNN, the “super bacteria” entered the city’s waterways when sewage coming from local hospitals was channeled into the bay. Among the beaches flagged were Flamengo and Botafogo, which border the bay where Olympic sailors are scheduled to compete.
“It’s a nice sailing area but every time you get some water in your face, it feels like there’s some alien enemy entering your face,” German Paralympic sailor Heiko Kroger said during a recent visit to Rio. “I keep my nose and my lips closed.”
Kroger believes the super bacteria may have caused a severe skin infection in one of his teammates during recent training.
When Rio made its bid to host the Summer Games back in 2009, it promised to clean up the polluted waterways and connect 80 percent of homes to the sewage system. This promise has clearly not been fulfilled.
In one of the latest crime incidents, an Australian athlete was mugged close to her hotel, and a local hospital designated for tourists was the scene of a fierce gun battle between gangsters.
Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes admitted that the “state was doing a terrible job” in regard to security in the weeks before the Games. “It’s completely failing at its work of policing and taking care of people,” he said.
A report in the Daily Mail quoted Olympic sailors saying that the filthy water was turning their boats brown.
One competitor said it left her boat “looking like a toilet.”
Others taking part in test events earlier this year had complained of colliding with floating debris, with many others falling ill. Just last weekend, a major oil spill was causing problems for the sailors.
“We’ve never seen anything like this. It was all over the place,” said Finnish sailor Camilla Cedercreutz. “There was no way you could avoid it.”