Seven Environmental Issues Brazil Has Completely Neglected Ahead Of The 2016 Summer Olympics
Brazil has been less than impressive in handling their environmental issues ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
This years 2016 Summer Olympic games has not gotten off to a real good start, and it hasn't even began yet. With swimming competitors using protective suits while practicing isn't embarrassing enough. Security concerns over Brazil's Favelas and gang wars, doping scandals and now major environmental issues threaten not only the sacred games dating back to the Ancient Greeks, but Brazil itself as it sheds light on how corruption and ignorant policies have led to environmental disaster. With the impeding hundreds of thousands of spectators and athletes flooding into the city of Rio de Janeiro, quite possibly one of the fastest falling cities in South America environmental concerns are easily overshadowed by other factors like the Zika virus or the possibility of being shot.
However, due to great environmental watch dog groups such as ECOWatch, EarthWorks & Greenpeace, Brazil has now come face to face with what exactly they have done to their environment and how we can learn from their mistakes.
Issue #1: Waterway Pollution
Brazil and Rio's water pollution problems have long been a concern of environmentalists. However with two decades of almost non-existent solutions and lack of modern sanitation remediation efforts has created a black hole of pollution and contamination. Olympic organizers have made "efforts" to clean the waterways of Rio during their 2009 bid for the games although trash, raw sewage and no surprise; body parts present at venues hosting the water competitions.
The rowing and sailing competitions will be held at Guanabara Bay, sounds great right. Well until you do some simple research and find that tons, literal TONS of noxious raw sewage gets pumped into that very bay EVERY day. Of the eight water treatment plants promised to be built to fix these issues, only one has actually been built. Organizers will instead use purely cosmetic water treatment methods to make the water shine blue on television for the world to see.
Issue #2: Super Bacteria
In wake of Brazil's hosting of the games, the Associated Press published results of a eight month study of Rio's water venues. The conclusion; NONE WERE SAFE for either swimming or boating finding more than 1BILLION viruses in the water from human sewage in a single liter of water.
Water samples were 1.7 MILLION TIMES the level of what would be considered hazardous on your typical American beach.
Issue #3: Zika, Zika, Zika
From what you have read so far it is not hard to imagine how many mosquitoes will be plaguing the spectators and athletes. Brazil is basically the Four Season's for a giant mosquito populace. A number of high profile athletes have dropped out of the Summer Games due just to this fact. However, due to it being the winter season in Rio bites are less likely and research shows that a Zika outbreak during the games is highly unlikely.
Issue #4: Golf's Impact On The Environment
Everyone knows the terrible impact Golf courses have on areas that are short on water, ie; California. Heres a fun fact courtesy of the non-profit WaterInfo.org; It takes 6500 cubic meters of water to sustain 60,000 villagers in Thailand, the SAME amount it takes to water ONE golf course for ONE day on average. Here in the United States, a golf course in the desert uses up to 1 MILLION gallons of water a day to keep its fairways green. Progress is being made however as "Golf Course architects" are now focusing more and more creating "Green Friendly Courses". Golf's return to the Olympics has been bittersweet, good for fans, terrible for everything else. Instead of using the two courses in Rio already, the Brazilian commitee decided to build a brand new one from scratch destroying precious acres of beautiful forestry for a few weeks of play.
Many Brazilian Eco activists are calling this act by the Committee "Environmental Crime".
Issue #5: Endangered Species, The Jaguar
Many people don't quickly associate Jaguars and the Olympics. However the State of Rio de Janeiro as well as the city of Rio itself is one of the most densely populated regions for the threatened big cat species. The climate, waterways and abundant food sources make it an ideal place for the majestic animals. As for IRONY, the Brazilian Olympic Team's official mascot is nevertheless...a Jaguar! And guess what, during the famous Torch Passing ceremony a jaguar was shot and killed after escaping her handlers. With only 15,000 left in the world the games will do nothing but further endanger the endangered species.
Issue #6: Public Transport
Brazil's cities are some of the most densely populated in the world and have some of the worst public transportation as well. When Rio won the Olympic bid SEVEN years ago they boasted several improvements. However the city of Rio declared the city in a "state of financial disaster" and nearly none of the Olympic-related infrastructure projects have been completed. One of these projects, the 10-mile new rail line which costed $1.2 BILLION MORE than it's initial estimate may NOT even be completed in time.
Issue #7: Environmental Protestors
Normally this would be a good thing right? People taking to the streets to show their concern over how their country has been handling the environment. Well not in Brazil, in fact; Brazil is the #1 nation in the WORLD with the highest death tool of environmental activists. Global Witness, a human rights watch group revealed the deaths of 50 activists last year alone. Marcello Mello, leader of the Occupy Golf Campaign stated; "I know there is a risk to this work. It is dangerous to campaign for the environment in Brazil..But I love nature and somebody has to do this job. If I die for this cause, it will be worth it."