The Glory of the Olympics in Wasteland

I enjoy watching the Olympic games but I think I haven’t really watched the summer Olympics dedicatedly since it was done in Beijing, which was totally spectacular. China did a fantastic job, taking cue from the Sydney Olympics which, I believe, restored the grandeur of the games. Anyway, it’s in Brazil this 2016, and while I was watching the news the other day, I learned why a lot of folks really aren’t too happy with the location. Apart from being an incredibly congested city, it’s greatly polluted, too. Brazilians, it turned out, do not manage their trash well — kinda like the people in my country.

The news focused on Guanabara Bay, a problematic location for the games’ sailing events. According to a local marine biologist, it’s filled with “gahr-bej” and nothing good breeds there. Locals have no respect for it and basically use the bay as their waste disposal system. It’s not just the water that’s filthy — the land surrounding it is like a mismanaged landfill. There are mounds of rubbish everywhere — everything from soiled nappies, to food wrappers, to broken furniture can be found surrounding the bay. There’s really no chance of missing any of that whether you’re going to sail through the bay or just watch the events.

Water tests revealed that athletes can get sick being exposed to all that, so Olympic sailors, in particular, already studied how they can protect themselves from the worst water quality they’ll be dealing with in their sailing career. These games will really be a test of skill and endurance — imagine, going through muck for Olympic glory? It sucks to be an Olympian sailor this year.

After seeing the condition of Guanabara Bay, I remembered what my Sociology professor in college told us: The mentality of poor people is more focused on personal survival — upholding good values is rarely important. Therefore, it’s really not surprising that most locals in Rio do not see great value in environment protection. I suppose if you live in Rio de Janeiro where majority of the population is within the poverty level, plus, there’s so little space that can be used for proper waste disposal, you simply take your garbage out of the house and then dump it in the water away from where you live.

Sad reality.

For sure, the Olympic Games will create more trash for the city to deal with — hopefully, Rio has become more aware after being exposed and will implement proper waste management even just for the event. The city government should at least make sure there are trash bins (waste bins can be rented, anyway, just like the bin hire in Melbourne) all around so people won’t just throw their garbage anywhere.

Oh well, at least Brazilians are awesome at throwing parties. I’m pretty sure the closing ceremony will be one big party and people may just forget the literal garbage of the games.

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