The Guanabara Bay in Brazil’s southeastern state of Rio de Janeiro will play host to sailing events for the 2016 Olympic Games.
But as organisers prepare major international competitions as warm-up events for the Games serious concerns have been raised over the quality of the water.
Rubbish can clearly be seen floating on the surface of the water while untreated sewage swirls beneath.
Brazilian biologist Marcelo Rocha says the water is very dangerous and could cause infections including Hepatitis A.
He said: “At Flamengo Beach, Botafogo Beach, these have a lot of swimming restrictions because the level of coliform (bacterium) is really high and this is not recommendable for swimming. Not just for the athletes, but for beach goers, tourists and people who frequent the area.”
Fortunately no Olympic swimming events are scheduled to be held in the bay.
But sailboats could capsize and send the competitors overboard and into the polluted water.
A simple splash in the mouth, eyes or nose could cause infection of some kind.
Olympic sailors who are in Rio to check out the venue have voiced their concerns not only over the quality of the water but also the floating debris which makes racing unfair and dangerous.
Brazil’s Olympic organisers are now under mounting pressure to clean up their act and the bay ahead of the Games.