Despite promises that it would be cleaned up, the waters outside of Rio remain unsanitary just 18 months before the Summer Olympics are to take place. Now the city is admitting that promises it made to improve the water quality likely won't be kept.
“There are parts of the bay where you are literally inside a latrine where hundreds of thousands of people defecate daily,” Mario Moscatelli, an independent biologist, told USA Today.
He also said that sewage is far from the only problem. Hospital waste, tires, electronic equipment and even dead bodies have been found in the water, worsening an already unsafe situation.
Now, officials are admitting that this won't come to fruition. But they are insistent that the International Olympics Committee will understand.
"Of course they will understand if we don't meet our target," said state governor Luiz Fernando Pezao, according to Reuters. "We are going to show them that we are making lots of investment in this area."
In other words, Pezao is hoping the IOC will give Rio an "A" for effort -- even though environmentalists have decried those exact efforts.
And that's not the only reason to be concerned for the safety of sailors. Biologists have identified in the bay a superbacteria that is resistant to antibiotics. The organism is being fed into the bay by a river, creating a serious risk that swimmers or other individuals entering the waters could contract a life-threatening infection.
But hey, they tried.