Despite promises by city officials as far back as 2009 that Guanabara Bay and Rio's waterways would be cleaned of sewage and refuse by at least 80%, a recent letter obtained by the Associated Press news agency claims that at the current funding rate it would take a decade to reduce pollution to acceptable levels.
The letter from the office of Rio's state environment secretary to Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo is backed up by an AP analysis of national statistics which shows pollution in the city's waters is far above Brazil's national limits, which are themselves regarded as less stringent when compared to European standards.
As reported last December on Afloat.ie, Irish Olympic sailing coach branded the future Olympic waters of Rio as "absolutely disgusting", comparing Guanabara Bay to a "sewer" where training sailors had to repeatedly stop to disentangle refuse from their rudders.
State authorities are now asking for $70 million to build new river water treatment units to filter out waste before it reaches the bay, though it's expected to reduce current pollution levels by just 50% in time for the first sailing events.
The New York Times has more on the story HERE.