Why Rio Olympic Swimmers, Sailors And Windsurfers Have To Keep Their Mouths Close

The Olympics is now being held in Rio de Janeiro and health experts are advising marathon swimmers, sailors and windsurfers to keep their mouths closed to avoid the risks of getting sick due to microorganisms in the waters. Based on recent tests made by the government and some independent scientists, a veritable Petri dish of pathogens can be found in the city’s waters from rotaviruses that can cause diarrhea and vomiting to the drug resistant super bacteria that are fatal for people with weak immunity systems.

Research reports from the Federal University of Rio also revealed serious
contamination on the upscale beaches located in Ipanema and Leblon where most of the millions of spectators will be frolicking during the Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee itself acknowledges that the city’s waters are dangerously unclean in some places; however, places where the Olympic swimmers will compete like the waters off Copacabana beach meet the safety standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the Guanabara Bay there are high levels of human waste but it presents limited risks to the sailors and windsurfers because they will not have direct contact with the waters. Most of the sewage and trash produced by the city’s residents flows untreated into the waters and becomes a serious sanitation problem.

Foreign athletes are actually concerned over the waterborne illnesses that can affect their quest for the Olympic Gold. The athletes have to ensure that their mouths are closed to prevent succumbing to gastrointestinal diseases. According to reports from the Associated Press, the disease-carrying viruses are 1.7 million times the level of what will be considered as hazardous on Southern California beaches.

The Rio Olympics is beset with so many problems from the Zika virus epidemic that dampened ticket sales to the environmental and health hazards of the city’s contaminated waterways that yield more trash than fish.

Keeping Water systems clean is usually a multibillion effort that is financed by governments and private donors. If hazardous waste in waters is not treated properly, aquatic life is in jeopardy. However, there are strategies that can be implemented to overcome these water safety issues and ensure ideal habitats for aquatic life.