There are big plans for Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay for the 2016 Summer Olympics, where the sailing events will take place. But with a year and a half until the games, criticism is falling on planners and authorities for not taking the necessary steps to clean up the notoriously polluted bay. Few observers have hope of improvement.
That’s why André Correa, Brazil’s environmental secretary, jumped into the bay on live TV on Globo’s Fantástico, a week after the program reported on the extent of water pollution in Rio. Critics are concerned polluted water could be harmful to Olympians health, and floating trash could interfere with the competition.
Olympic sailors have referred to the bay as an “open sewer.”
“You can swim here just like in Ipanema or Barra,” Correa says as he treads water. Both of the beaches he is referring to are popular among tourists.
The show emphasized that the secretary chose a spot near the mouth of the bay, where there is more inflow of ocean water, as well as a time with a high tide, when more clean ocean water is coming in.