Rio de Janeiro’s governor has admitted that a pledge to clean up waterways ahead of next year’s Olympic Games will not be fully met.
It comes as hundreds of dead fish continue to wash up on the banks of a lagoon, where rowing and canoeing events are due to be held.
Fish die-offs are common in Rio waters, which are choked with raw sewage and rubbish.
The latest incident, affecting thousands of small silvery fish called twaite shad, began several days ago at the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon.
“When you are rowing, you start to feel sick, nauseous. So you have to stop training and go and rest,” said Joao Gabriel Raize, who uses the lagoon.
Sailors have also been expressing concerns about health and safety risks.
Authorities had pledged to clean up waters ahead of the Olympics.
But Rio’s governor Luiz Fernando Pezao has now admitted that Guanabara Bay will not be fully cleaned until the end of 2018.
He thinks the job will be around 60 percent done by the time the Games start.
Millions of euros have been spent on clean-up projects over the decades, but all with little impact.
Better water quality was supposed to have been a lasting Olympic legacy. But for Rio, that now appears to be out of reach.