Monday 5 December 2016

OCI will 'monitor the situation' surrounding water pollution levels in Rio Waters

Published 02/08/2016 | 14:41

Pollution floating in Guanabara Bay. Matthew Stockman/Getty
Pollution floating in Guanabara Bay. Matthew Stockman/Getty

The Olympic Council of Ireland have said that the welfare of Irish athletes competing on, and in, the water in Guanabara Bay in Rio is their highest priority amid worrying reports surrounding the pollution levels in the area.

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Doctors, engineers, and scientists have been warning competitors of the dangers of ingesting water in the area.

Researchers found that many of the beaches in Rio de Janeiro have been long contaminated with raw sewage, household garbage, and even dead bodies, creating hazardous swimming conditions for the 500,000 people expected to descend on the city in August.

A 16-month survey commissioned by Associated Press found viral levels at up to 1.7 million times what would be considered worrisome in the United States or Europe.

Competitors have been taking precautions and the OCI have told Independent.ie that they are keeping a close eye on the situation.

A statement released today read: "Work has been undertaken by the Rio authorities to monitor and improve the quality of the water in Guanabara Bay and they have seen significant improvements in the quality of the water.

"The waters where athletes will compete meet World Health Organisation safety standards. However, we also continue to monitor the situation as the health and welfare of our athletes is our top priority.

"The Rio 2016 organisers guaranteed that athletes will be able to compete safely and are confident that the venues are ready to host excellent sporting competitions."

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