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Rio 2016: Olympic Rowers to put the sport before safety as Rio waterways remain polluted

Umaima Saeed
374   //    04 Jul 2016, 16:48 IST
rio de janeiro
Rowing will be held in Rio’s natural surrounding water bodies, which are disgustingly polluted

The much awaited 2016 Olympics in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro are not very far from lighting the torch. But the downsides of the greatest sporting event have now become a concern. The games have negatively affected Rio in ways more than one, from politics to health, economy, police, housing and most importantly, Mother Nature.

The problems of the city are now causing a lot of trouble to the visitors, fans, paparazzi and athletes as well. Rowing is one of the well-known Olympics sports that will be held in Rio’s natural surrounding water bodies, which are disgustingly polluted. The water is polluted enough to pose a grave danger to the athlete.

The rowing team from the U.S is taking all precautions ahead of participating in dangerous waters. Sportskeeda learnt from a news report published in the Wired that hand-washing stations are to be set up for the rowers to instantaneously disinfect the pollution when they get out of the water.

Also Read: From a drought-hit village to India's rowing Olympian: The touching story of Dattu Bhokanal

Another safety precaution taken by the U.S team is the special apparel which will physically protect the athletes from polluted water, absorb any moisture and destroy bacteria through antimicrobial chemical coating.

Although the rowing team’s protective measures are dedicated, it has been found out that the special apparel cannot kill certain types of bacteria. In any case, rowing is a sport where at some point or the other, even with all protection, water will be inevitably splashed onto the athlete’s face, sometimes entering their eyes, mouth and nostrils. The sport is such.

The Associated Press had conducted a test on the water in December 2015 which revealed that raw sewage flows into the Rio waterways via highly polluted rivers and storm drains. The report further stated that disease-causing viruses relating to the human sewage are present in the water here at alarming levels.

There is also a wide concern about the Zika Virus in Brazil which has led to 125 health experts call upon the WHO to either postpone or relocate the games. With so many concerns at once, it is only befitting to say, “Go to Rio at your own risk”.

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Umaima Saeed
Front seat at the HPCA, Himalayan peaks around, India-Pakistan on the ground, chicken momos in my mouth - my kind of ideal.
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