Pics of The Day: Brazil’s Troubled Waters

Some international experts say it's too late to clean up Brazil's dirty waterways where several Olympic events are slated for next year.

Mnet 121466 Guanabarabayap

Work at a Brazilian mining company, Jacunda Mining Co., was brought to a halt this week after a retention dike broke, unleashing “large amounts” of sand and clay into a local waterway. According to an Associated Press report, Jacunda Mining extracts niobium and titanium.

The river affected by the spill is unpolluted, but it flows into Guanabara Bay, where several Olympic events are planned for next year.

Guanabara Bay has already been the subject of intense scrutiny this week as reports of toxic pollution have mounted.

In this June 1, 2015 file photo, a discarded sofa litters the shore of Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As part of its Olympic bid, Brazil promised to build eight treatment facilities to filter out much of the sewage and prevent tons of household trash from flowing into the Guanabara Bay. Only one has been built. Tons of household trash line the coastline and form islands of refuse. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo, File)

Untreated sewage human sewage mixed with household trash have led to beaches and waterways that are so full of dangerous viruses and bacteria, some athletes training in the water have already fallen ill. According to an AP investigation, water samples collected from three Olympic sites tested positive for infectious human adenoviruses, which cause explosive diarrhea, violent vomiting, respiratory problems and other illnesses.

Photo by Reuters

At one beach where marathon and triathlon swimming are scheduled to take place, the concentrations of human adenoviruses were nearly equivalent to raw sewage. Some international experts have said it’s too late for the water to be adequately cleaned up.

This July 27, 2015 aerial photo shows the Alegria Sewage Treatment Plant, located alongside the Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday. Starting in 1993, Japan’s international cooperation agency poured hundreds of millions of dollars into a Guanabara clean-up project. The Inter-American Development bank later issued a $452 million loan for more works. A culture of corruption stymied any progress. For years, none of four sewage treatment plants built with the Japanese money operated at full capacity. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Recent photos from AP and Reuters reveal the extent of the pollution in Guanabara Bay.

A man walks, with the Sugar Loaf Mountain in the background, near garbage on Botafogo beach in the Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro March 12, 2014. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

No word on how the Jacunda Mining spill will affect Guanabara Bay, but water quality test results are expected in about 10 days.

In this July 13, 2015 photo, athletes practice rowing on a deck in the Rodrigo de Freitas Lake in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Over 10,000 athletes from 205 countries are expected to compete in next year’s Olympics games. Nearly 1,400 of them will be sailing in the waters near Marina da Gloria in Guanabara Bay; swimming off Copacabana Beach; and canoeing and rowing on the brackish waters of the Rodrigo de Freitas Lake. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)


More in Chemical Processing