Should We Hold the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro Despite Badly Polluted Waters?

by wendyzhi on September 11, 2016 - 4:35pm

Holding the Olympic Games in an underdeveloped country may not be such a good idea because of the many controversies looming over Rio de Janeiro for the last 20 years. “They said everything to win the Olympic Games, but they said one thing and did another thing,” proclaimed the biologist Mario Moscatelli (“This is a shame” 1). More importantly, water pollution reigns over the Games and the country itself. Rio residents and athletes from all around the world are concerned about those filthy waters. As government remains trapped in political turmoil, the Games approached and nothing seems to be resolved. Organizers of Rio 2016 Olympic Games promised to treat 80% of sewage before the event starts (“This is a shame” 1). However, this project’s expectations were not met in time. Knowing this, the international Olympic Committee searched for other solutions, but claimed at the end that no other cities were yet ready to host this big event. Thus, the decision has been made that Rio de Janeiro will be the host of the 2016 Olympic Games and over 1,400 athletes are subjected to be at risk of illness during the Games (“This is a shame” 1).

If we look at the issue in a more positive perspective, holding the Olympic Games may result to a better future for the residents of Rio de Janeiro. People often say that when they hear the name Rio, it refers to Brazil itself. So, holding the Games in this city can enhance the connection of Brazil with other countries in the world. This country values integration and doesn’t wish for further corruption. Also, it is said that after the event, the stadiums can be reused for businesses and other institutions which leave Brazilians with a better living standard (Balch 1). Therefore, it may be a good investment because the infrastructures can regenerate a poor city as well as granting Rio residents the possibility to acquire good living conditions and education in the near future.

Now, if we concern ourselves with the negative impacts of this problem, holding the Olympic Games may put the athletes’ health in danger. In fact, the badly polluted waterways disable athletes to compete in their best form which affects their performance. Moreover, the government and the majority of Rio residents lack interest to improve water conditions because it has been their habit to throw their garbage in the rivers. Hence, they think that the current will take care of everything. Mario Andrada, Rio’s spokesman, assures that no athletes will be affected by it: “If bacterial tests show a dangerous area, events can be shifted to less polluted zones” (“This is a shame” 1). As stated above, they did everything to have the Olympic stadiums built in their territory. However, they can’t prevent bacteria to expand and scatter. The city lacks safety and sanitary measures and may therefore harm the citizens and athletes in a materialistic way.

Personally, I believe that there are other measures that can be done for Brazil to improve their political and economic situations. The country has the money and the technology to improve living conditions of a deprived city, but no interest of doing so (“This is a shame” 1). Yes, holding a big event like the Olympic Games attracts more attention than ever, but it may harm athletes’ lives as well as the health of Rio residents. It is important to know that all life has inherent value, so it is a virtue to not allow others to harm a living being for luxury needs or social status. However, to keep this legacy blooming in this country, Rio residents and the government needs to motivate themselves to control water pollution and other controversies haunting the country. They also need to make plans to reuse the stadiums and arenas for living and educational purposes. Therefore, I do not approve of the idea that the Games should be held in Rio de Janeiro. It is wise to also consider Zika virus as a threat to the population. Is pollution the source of many troubles regarding this underdeveloped country or is their amotivation the cause?

Work Cited

Balch, Oliver. "What Happens to Olympic Venues after the Closing Ceremony?" The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 31 Sept. 2016, Accessed 09 Sept. 2016.

"'This Is a Shame!' Filthy Waters Raise Ire Ahead of Rio Olympics." CBC News. CBC/Radio Canada, 03 Aug. 2016, Accessed 09 Sept. 2016.


You wrote a very interesting post. Indeed the topic is one that is current and that is also bound to happen again, since the Olympics are set to take place every four years. This means that we may face this same dilemma once again with another underdeveloped country. The Olympic Games are definitely interesting in that they bring people together from different places, yet it is an issue that Brazil is the host. I definitely agree with the idea that every person's life should be considered, and that therefore it is not safe for the athletes to risk being sick in order to boost Rio's connections. I would also add to your argument that people should not be used as a means to an end, ergo the athletes should not be used as a means for Brazil to gain social status. Overall, I agree that the games should not have taken place in Rio de Janeiro. When one considers the infrastructures that were built for the games, which cost a lot of money, one might wonder what the government could have otherwise used this money for. This money could have been used to help the country, treat Rio's water, help the poor, or fix any of the other problems that Brazil has, and not for entertainment purposes. We often see stadiums that were used for the Olympics abandoned and unused after the games because of high repair costs, so is it really worth spending millions of dollars for an event that only lasts an instant? As you said, Brazil has the potential to improve their living conditions, and as such, I believe they should. So I would ask, is entertainment more important than bettering a country's own living conditions?

As I went trough your post, it made me think about different safety conditions that may not always be accurate in certain developing countries of the world and how people can risk their health by simply having access to water, which is a basic need for everyone. However I found your post very interesting, since I haven't been aware of poor water conditions in Rio and especially with the fact that the Olympic Games have taken place in a water polluted area. As you mentioned in your text, the city of Rio should enhance the water pollution, which remains a major problem for Rio's residents. On the other hand, does this corrupted country really has the money and technology to ameliorate these wide open risks to citizens. This problem definitely needs to be fixed and especially when it comes to olympic athletes' performances. I think athletes should have a safe and enjoyable environment to compete in. The Olympic Games attract so many people from all over the world and the ones who perform and work at the games should not have to worry about some polluted water in the environment where it takes place. Every athlete that has trained for 4 years to finally compete in the Olympic Games should have the right to compete each of their discipline in a secure environment.