The Dirty Waters of March

A stick, a stone, a television set, an old couch... these are just some of the many things one can find floating in Rio de Janeiro's Guanabara Bay. 

View of the Sugarloaf with floating debris in the Guanabara Bay (Photo by Fernando Maia/UOL)

View of the Sugarloaf with floating debris in the Guanabara Bay (Photo by Fernando Maia/UOL)

As we approach the end of the road, the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, state and local authorities have said they will not be able to meet their goal of ridding the city's main body of water of 80% of its pollutants. 

Slideshow: Heavy Polluted Bay to Host Rio's Olympics

Athletes and environmental activists are concerned about  the conditions of the bay, the chosen venue for the Olympic sailing competition. 

"When you have plastics and debris floating in the water it can damage the boats and you could eventually have a race decided by garbage and that's the biggest issue for us," five-time Olympic sailing medallist turned Brazilian head sailing coach Torben Grael told BBC Sports recently

In addition to the trash, athletes are concerned about the untreated sewage that flows into the bay, as well as illegal dumping from peripheral communities. 

British Olympic sailor Nick Thompson told Reuters he will be taking probiotic supplements and fish oil during the sporting event. 

"Water quality is my biggest personal concern. If you are sick during the Games, it's game over," Thompson said. 

Rio de Janeiro biologist recently described the bay as a "latrine" during a visit with the city's international press core. 

"My recommendation for all the athletes is that they get vaccinated against Hepatitis A," Moscatelli said.

This week, the Associated Press reported Rio de Janeiro's state government hired a Dutch company to help with the clean-up.

The European researchers created a system that maps where solid waste is coming from by compiling data based on the water, weather conditions and real-time footage compiled from municipal cameras from the bay's surrounding neighborhoods. 

"Ecoboats" used to clean Guanabara Bay. January 2014 (Photo by Flora Charner) 

"Ecoboats" used to clean Guanabara Bay. January 2014 (Photo by Flora Charner) 

This would replace the "Ecoboats" and "Ecobarriers" that were inaugurated by the state government last year. 

The "Ecoboats," which collected floating rubbish in the bay, cost the state government nearly BRL $300,000 (roughly US $100,000) a month.  

"Unfortunately, more priority was given to the boats than to creating a more functional 'Ecobarrier.' Obviously, it would have been more efficient to keep the waste from entering the bay than to collect it at the mercy of the tides," Hora said

Hora said the "Ecobarriers" were "too primitive."

The clean-up of the 300-square-kilometer Guanabara Bay was one the main legacy projects promised by the city and state in Rio de Janeiro's Olympic bid. 

"I thought the Olympic Games would force the authorities to uphold their commitments with the International Olympic Committee and society," a pessimistic Moscatelli said. "I don't see any way of reversing the damage that has been done by years of political mismanagement in the short term."

Official Rio 2016 Olympic bid video from 2009.