Rowing venue for 2016 Rio Olympics filled with dead fish

By Aileen Graef  |  April 14, 2015 at 2:36 PM
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RIO DE JANEIRO, April 14 (UPI) -- The venue for the 2016 Summer Olympics rowing competition, the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, is filled with dead fish, spelling bad news for the approaching games.

Fish die-offs in Rio's waterways are not uncommon due to high levels of pollution. The Brazilian Environmental Defense Commission attributed this last round of fish deaths to industrial and domestic waste. Rio's municipal environmental secretary, however, said it was caused by heavy rains changing the temperature of the water, causing an excess of decaying organic matter and thereby lowering the oxygen in the water.

The city promised to reduce pollution in its waterways before the games, but the mayor admitted they are looking more for controlling the levels rather than a significant reduction.

"The Olympics are also in a time that has very little rain, then this amount of debris that comes from five municipalities in the metropolitan region, with poor sanitation, is also controllable...I do not see as a problem for the Olympics," said Mayor Eduardo Paes.

Brazil is still reeling from the financial fallout of hosting the 2014 World Cup, which caused protests in the streets of the city and the criticism of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Protesters as of late have been demanding her impeachment.

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