With the Summer Olympic games not quite two weeks away, concerns about pollution in Rio are taking center stage. Many of the areas that will be the sites for sailing and rowing events are heavily polluted. Raw sewage can be seen flowing into the marina where the yachts for sailing events will launch. Tests on the water show it has a bacteria count 1.7 million times higher than would be allowed under US environmental standards.
In addition to the sewage problem, in many areas there are large amounts of trash floating in the water. Since Olympic level sailing depends on smooth keels and no obstacles in the water, the trash problem could seriously impact race times. Public officials in Rio had pledged to install 8 new sewage treatment plants and have only installed one. They had also assured the IOC that they could remove 80% of the sewage from the water, but have only managed half that amount.