Home' Afloat : AFLOAT August 2015 Contents 14 AFLOAT.com.au August 2015
sick from swimming (unlike in
Kuta), and no floating bodies
(even though the murder
rate is one of the highest
in the world). There were
no tons of household trash
to be seen on the coastline
and no islands of refuse.
The sandy beaches inside
the harbour were pristine.
The ferry terminal waters
were cleaner than those at
The Rio bay beaches are
not “off-limits for swimmers”.
Indeed on May 15 this year the
Brazil Environment Minister
that you made reference to
dived into the Bay exactly
where the games will be held
and swam around to prove to
the world that “it’s okay for
the Olympics”. The video is
still available on the internet.
floating plastic bottle on
one occasion. But there were
definitely no putrid waters
when we sailed out of Gloria
Marina (which is surprisingly
small for such a large city and
Similarly the Lagoon
was relatively clean, but not
pristine, even though the
small canal to the sea was
being dredged open again
through the sand of Ipanema/
Leblon into the sea.
As this is to be the first games in South America, given
the number of people in Rio, especially those without modern
sewerage, given the favelas and the geography, and the known
levels of corruption that exceed even those of FIFA, it is surprising
the situation is not worse.
I wonder if you recall the sea pollution in Barcelona? And
even Beijing’s air quality? Yet they were successes.
I am confident these games will be held in Rio and will be
successful and your concerns will be shown to be unfounded.
This will be primarily due to one thing – timing. As there is no
river, the only time the Rio harbour could become polluted in the
way you reported (which has very strong cleansing tidal currents
near the heads by the way - note for the sailors) is during the
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Rio scaremongering – there’s little
pollution at Olympic sailing venue
I believe your criticism of Rio de Janeiro for the sailing site of
the XXXI Summer Olympic Games focussing on environmental
issues was ill informed (‘Olympic sailing may be moved from
Rio’s “open sewer” venue’ – Afloat Jun’15). It appeared to simply
repeat some old selective negative reports. It makes me wonder
if you have you ever been there.
I was in Rio for 15 days for the FIFA World Cup in June 2014.
I stayed near the marina and frequently walked the waterfront.
I also surfed Copacabana and Ipanema; I sailed on Guanabara
Bay; I caught the ferry from Rio to Niteroi and back alongside
their 13km long bridge (yes, 13km). I walked the Niteroi beaches.
It’s a big city (between 11-13 million people), and a big harbour
of over 400sqkms, whereas Sydney harbour is only around
50sqkms. Unfortunately when you venture inland from the bridge
the massive bay nears some third-world living conditions – not
much worse than going out to Parramatta by the Cat.
My recollection was that there was little noticeable pollution
in the harbour, no floating sofas, no stench, no carcasses, not even
plastic bags, no fouling of rudders or props, no one I knew got
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