RIO DE JANEIRO – After the World Cup last summer, next year will be equally important for sport-loving Brazil. Rio de Janeiro will host the Olympic Games, this having been decided in 2009. However, it is not only the organisers who are concerned about guaranteeing public health in a metropolis which has suffered for years as a result of the problem of water pollution. The promise made, one year before the opening of the Games, is a challenging one: to clean up 80 per cent of the garbage which swamps the Bay of Guanabara.
Rio de Janeiro’s problem
In the last six years, Rio has spent millions of dollars on cleaning, but the water still gives off unpleasant odours. Last year, during several trial events, various individuals claimed to have recovered a floating sofa and dead animals. Last December, specialists in public health declared they had found “super bacteria” which were even resistant to drugs. At the beginning of this year, the filtering began for 6km of coastline where the events will take place.
As a way of sounding the alarm, the artist Fernanda Cortes has conceived of the exhibition Achados da Guanabara, or “found in Guanabara”, exhibiting on the Bay everything recovered from the water. The items in the exhibition have been packaged as “price tags”, to symbolise the environmental cost of rubbish, which one biologist has estimated as 320 dollars per year used and decomposed by an object.