I am not really the science-y type. So, I was a little caught off guard when my Masters Swim buddy suggested I write about the dirty waters of Brazil, the host country to the next summer Olympics. Wow! The topic alone is kind of an Olympic challenge for me. But I chewed on it and thought, this is a rant I can’t refuse. It meets my blog criteria of only discussing a common enemy, in this case pollution.
Rio is hosting the 2016 Olympics, and has the attention of my Masters Swim group. Being water lovers, we are wondering how in the world Olympic athletes will compete. We complain about our own pool water, say too much chlorine. Or CRAP! The heater is broken again! But nothing compares to the Rio seawater where gallons and gallons of raw sewage are dumped into the ocean on a daily basis. ICK!
All my non-science-y mind can think of is how we are sending the healthiest most-fit, humans on the planet to the equivalent of “The Dip” from the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” The chemical yellow-green liquid can dissolve a “toon” on contact. My skin crawls just thinking about it.
“The Dip” analogy is not far from the truth. A German sailor tested the waters using a HazMat like suit. He developed a flesh-eating virus. If left in the toxic water long enough, he just might melt into nothing. Erased from Olympic competition forever. At least that’s how I see it. I’m calling Brazil’s scary water: The Olympic Dip.
When Brazil was selected for an Olympic host, they were supposed to clean everything up…but a bad economy and controversial president are kind of distracting. Now, there is this Zika Virus putting the kibosh on babies for the next two years. And it’s a lot of work to figure how to clean up a big watery mess and stop dumping raw sewage into the ocean. Just like a stuffed closet, it’s just easier to close the door and forget about it. But, if guests are coming, what better motivator than to clean it up? It works at my house.
Most likely, there isn’t enough time to suck up the muck before company comes. One solution my friends and I came up with was moving the events far, far away. The hazardous waters go for miles along the coast and out to sea. For safety’s sake, why not send the athletes to another country for outdoor water sports? It’s not like all the events take place at one venue for any Olympic competition, winter or summer. The health of the athlete should be the highest priority. They earned the right to be there, an opportunity that doesn’t come along but every four years.
So, as much as it sickens me to think about our athletes jumping into The Olympic Dip, this is a wake-up call to all inhabitants of the earth. We wouldn’t pay attention otherwise to the polluted waters of Brazil. In the long run, this country needs help and serious motivation. I’m kind of thinking this is a job for Super Man or maybe a super rich man, like Zuckerberg. I hope he’s watching.
In the meantime, Big Wigs of the world leaders met in Paris in November to work out a plan to clean up the whole planet. Yay! Huge! Another swim buddy said, “talk to the pope,” like he’s my friend cuz I like him so much. I didn’t have to. Around the holidays, BIG digital pictures of endangered animals were flashed on the front of St. Peter’s Basilica at night, part of The Race to Extinction campaign. The world will be without some pretty cute and funky creatures if we don’t look out for them. In a subtle way, the Vatican is raising awareness of what looks like the start of The Great Disappearing Act. (That’s Francie-ese.) Animals are just the beginning and Olympic Athletes might be next.
What about the rest of us? To me, the 2016 Olympics is a fortuitous opportunity to raise awareness of our polluted planet. Since it is likely outdoor water sports will move elsewhere, the dirty secret out, why not do some educating. Maybe Save-the-Earth groups can run ads during the Olympics about how we can donate to cleanup organizations or how we can cleanup our act at home. I still have visions of that 70s commercial of the crying American Indian staring at the trash scattered all over the land he loved. I cannot drop even the tiniest scrap of paper on the ground. We need to implement that same feeling around water and air pollution.
Hopefully, the Olympics in Rio will drive home the desperation to save Earth. If athletes risk great danger just to compete, the whole world is going to be watching. We will not be cheering by nation, but by planet. Earth needs our support, now.
Share on Facebook