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Posts Tagged ‘brazil’

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There have been precious few counterpoints to the Rio pollution monster, and while the author of the below piece is wrong about quite a few things (namely that our own SA staff spent dozens of hours in-country investigating the situation on both water and land, talking to locals, and speaking with Brazilian scientists), it’s good to see some of that famous Brazilian pride come out. 

Hi there, I am a sailor from Rio. until recently on 49er campaign for the Olympics. just lost the qualifying to Marco Grael (yes, Torben’s son). I see you are a big critic on Rio pollution. Not sure how much of it is to make news and get hits or how much of it is actually of interest to you.

I did notice as well that you have never talked to a single Brazilian regarding this matter. Never contacted a single club in Guanabara Bay, I dare to say you have never even sailed there. You might find some different pov.

Dont get me wrong, I am not trying to state that there is no pollution, or that people should not push for depolution. I just want to raise a point – can sailing be done in Guanabara Bay?

I think it’s histerical to hear that ISAF president says he would resign if he doenst get depolution. What does he know about politics in Rio? Did you know that there are 15 municipalities around the bay? that the biggest water treatment plant in Latin America is right there, but the Mayor of that town refuses to clean the shit of the neigbour town?

Anyway, again off the point, but would just like to overstate how these brits are still thinking collonialy.

Every year, the Opti Nationals are packed with over 100 little kids. Every year Rio has the biggest fleet from all states. So this means that every year, on your opinion, really stupid parents allow their sons and daughters to face death when sailing their optis around the bay, or the lagoon (even worse polution). But aren’t these the same parents who run one of the biggest economies on the planet?

Is there a chance they are not too stupid? that they know, albeit polluted, it is not as harmful as advertised?

I find it really strange that all these little kids manage to sail their way around the plastic bags, find their gusts, round their marks, and those big boys with medals and sponsors, cant even put their boats on the water.

Getting your info from germ free americans, or isaf bureocrats might not be the best source of info.

Through this Olympic Cicle I have hosted 8-10 teams from different countries and classes. Still to find 1 who says this place isnt paradise. Can you picture this with crystal clear water? I think it’s just a way of making it fair with everywhere else.

Cheers from a SA follower
Thomas Low-Beer

 

January 29th, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 8.18.29 AM“Rio vowed Sunday to protect Olympic athletes and fans from Zika-carrying mosquitoes, blamed for causing horrific birth defects.” So says the AP.

Forgive us for not trusting the same Rio government that once promised a clean bay, and if you must go, pack your DEET if you ever want to have kids. Remember:

It only takes one bite, and it’s coming to a neighborhood near you (and for the really good news, it seems to be sexually transmittable, too).

 

January 25th, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 2.11.19 PMFlorida’s first three Zika infections were reported yesterday, and along with the horrible damage the virus can do to babies, another rare disease may be connected to the the mosquito-borne Zika.  CDC and Brazilian health authorities are now trying to figure out how Zika may be triggering or causing the Guillain-Barré syndrome, which causes nerve damage, paralysis, and in rare cases, death.  Cases of the rare disease have increased significantly in the past few months, and who knows what other nastiness this little bug may be capable of?

Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador and Jamaica have all officially asked women to delay becoming pregnant until more can be learned about Zika, while in the US, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas and Hawaii have confirmed Zika infections involving returning travelers who were likely bitten by mosquitoes while abroad.  While the Olympics is the last thing anyone with a baby on the way is thinking about, Zika threatens to do the impossible and overshadow even the ongoing media scrum around Guanabara Bay’s pollution.

With Rio 2016 already scrapping bleachers and stands for sailing, swimming, and paddling events, plans for permanent facilities thrown in the trash, and ticket sales moving at a snail’s pace, much of the Brazilian public is wishing its government had stayed away from the 5-ring circus.  And perhaps the biggest antidote for those seeking to host more super-events like the Games is this: Some scientists believe the Zika outbreak in Brazil can be traced to African tourists who came over in 2014 to watch the FIFA World Cup.

One SA reader told us there is no screwing around.  We’ll share his full e-mail:

Good job presenting the scare factor.  Yes, Zika is scary shit.  So are you ready for an article about the ONLY thing that sailors can do…Get self-protection against mosquito bites with modern, effective mosquito repellents.  We call it Personal Protection.

Signed:  David A. Carlson, Ph.D.  [World expert on mosquito protection, 200 publication in scientific papers, Research Chemist (Ret. after 37 years) at USDA, Center for Medical Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, FL]

 

January 22nd, 2016 by admin

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With all the noise about corruption, recession, and pollution coming out of 2016 Olympic venue Brazil recently, you might have missed a little story last May focusing on a few cases of something called Zika in the deep jungle that now threatens not only any chance the Games had of helping Brazil’s wrecked tourism industry, but international health.  Since those early May cases, the mosquito-borne disease has turned into an international epidemic effecting potentially millions of people and damaging the brains of the most vulnerable of all of us: Newborn babies.

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 10.55.44 AMThe virus is generally unremarkable when a healthy adult picks it up, and it’s far less dangerous and damaging than the mosquito-vectored illnesses tropical sailors are most used to; malaria, dengue, and most recently, chikungaya.  But to an unborn fetus, Zika has life-threatening consquences, and while scientists don’t yet understand exactly how, the virus zeroes in on the skull of the fetus.  The resulting conditions is called Microcephaly, and it’s a heartbreaking one that results in a smaller-than-normal skull and prevents proper brain development.  In just a few months, Brazil has gone from essentially zero cases of microcephaly to over 4,000, with estimates of around a million infections of Zika.  And some locals say the beleaguered government doesn’t give a shit.

If you’re not pregnant or intend to become pregnant soon, there’s very little to worry about.  But if you are, or someone back home is, this disease is not to be trifled with, and it’s not just in Brazil anymore; like most diseases spread by the nasty and ubiquitous Aegypti skeeter,  it’s spreading, and fast.  The first suspected case of Zika-connected microcephaly in the US was reported last week in Hawaii, and the virus has been found in several southern states.  Further afield, it’s exploding.

The CDC advised pregnant women to “Consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
Women who are trying to become pregnant: Before you travel, talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection. Strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip. Specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are often difficult to determine and are likely to change over time.”  Their full info sheet is here.

As of Thursday, the following countries have been impacted: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Martin, Suriname and Venezuela, as well as Puerto Rico.

More info from the Wash Post here.

 

January 21st, 2016 by admin

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With a real recession settling into the Brazilian economy, ISAF and Rio 2016 officials sound increasingly pessimistic about any kind of real cleanup happening before the Rio Olympics this summer. If the long-promised cleanup doesn’t happen, their solution – moving the boats further offshore, out of the (literal) shit – looks like a non-starter, at least if you believe the second round of water testing from the Associated Press.  Teams and staff: Make sure your health insurance is up to date.  Here’s the AP:

Olympic sailor Erik Heil floated a novel idea to protect himself from the sewage-infested waters he and other athletes will compete in during next year’s games: He’d wear plastic overalls and peel them off when he was safely past the contaminated waters nearest shore.

 Heil, 26, was treated at a Berlin hospital for MRSA, a flesh-eating bacteria, shortly after sailing in an Olympic test event in Rio in August. But his strategy to avoid a repeat infection won’t limit his risk.

A new round of testing by The Associated Press shows the city’s Olympic waterways are as rife with pathogens far offshore as they are nearer land, where raw sewage flows into them from fetid rivers and storm drains. That means there is no dilution factor in the bay or lagoon where events will take place and no less risk to the health of athletes like sailors competing farther from the shore.

“Those virus levels are widespread. It’s not just along the shoreline but it’s elsewhere in the water, therefore it’s going to increase the exposure of the people who come into contact with those waters,” said Kristina Mena, an expert in waterborne viruses and an associate professor of public health at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. “We’re talking about an extreme environment, where the pollution is so high that exposure is imminent and the chance of infection very likely.”

Read on, and talk about it in the busy thread here.

 

December 2nd, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 10.41.09 AMFor almost two years we have been railing against the ridiculous state of affairs at Rio’s Olympic sailing venue, but official reactions from ISAF, the IOC and pretty much every other organization with an interest has been to plunge their heads deeply into sand.  We’ve wondered how long they could go on without meaningful action, but a report published today may change all that.

Despite multiple reports that Rio 2016 officials have already failed on the ‘guarantee’ they made on the water quality of the olympic sailing and rowing venues for the 2016 games, local politicians are still disputing the science with bullshit stunts like this one, and credibility challenged statements like last month’s from Rio2016 organizing committee spokesman Mario Andrada.  Adrada said that Rio would “guarantee safe competition and we will guarantee the health of the athletes,” although it’s pretty clear that a guarantee from the Rio2016 Committee is worth about as much as a bucketfull of the shit at the water’s edge in Guanabara.  And remember: They’ve already told us there’s no way in hell they’ll change the venue to a safer one…because dustbuster boats.

While the questionable value of Rio2016′s ‘guarantees’ is fairly obvious, quantifiable scientific data on just how nasty the water is was not; most national teams funded their own independent water quality tests, but judging from the official zeal with which those test results were guarded, there was some shit in there that no team wanted the public to see.

Those guarding the results have just learned what happens when you’re a little too good at hiding the truth, because the Associated Press got motivated enough to find the truth to spend a small fortune on it.

AP commissioned four rounds of testing in each of the three Olympic water venues and off Ipanema Beach.  Their summary? “Not one water venue [is] safe for swimming or boating, according to global water experts.”

Multiple national officials over the past year have told us that their investigations were ‘inconclusive’ or ‘showed manageable levels’ or some other crock of shit designed to avoid making waves, so it was surprising to see such unquestionable lab results from the AP tests, which:

found high counts of active and infectious human adenoviruses, which multiply in the intestinal and respiratory tracts of people. These are viruses that are known to cause respiratory and digestive illnesses, including explosive diarrhea and vomiting, but can also lead to more serious heart, brain and other diseases.

The concentrations of the viruses in all tests were roughly equivalent to that seen in raw sewage — even at one of the least-polluted areas tested, the Copacabana Beach, where marathon and triathlon swimming will take place and where many of the expected 350,000 foreign tourists may take a dip.

Perhaps most importantly, the test results viral discoveries call into question all national teams’ strategies of disease prevention.  Basically, you’re going to get sick if you spend any amount of time in the water or catching spray.  From the report:

Kristina Mena, a U.S. expert in risk assessment for waterborne viruses, examined the AP data and estimated that international athletes at all water venues would have a 99 percent chance of infection if they ingested just three teaspoons of water — though whether a person will fall ill depends on immunity and other factors…Viruses can enter the body through the mouth, eyes, any orifice, or even a small cut.

The certainty of infection, and the risk of much nastier bugs they didn’t test for, creates a new problem for every official associated with the event; they can no longer claim that death/disease/complications/infection wasn’t foreseeable for their competitors.  And under the laws of quite a few nations, that means they may be liable in court if and when the shit hits the fan.  SA’s Legal Research Department isn’t sure whether this liability could extend to the directors or CEOs of national sailing teams, but if there’s one thing that can motivate action when even concern for the health and safety of competitors can’t, it’s the threat of multimillion dollar lawsuits.

One of the few good eggs at ISAF – Head of Competitions Alastair Fox – made some noise about moving the venue back in April, but was quickly silenced.  Will Alastair or anyone else at ISAF have the balls to do something about it, especially now that they are properly on notice about just how bad it is?

Read the full report here, and send the IOC your thoughts via email.

Thread here.

July 30th, 2015 by admin

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