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更新时间:2016-7-28 10:44:48 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Keep Your Mouth Closed: Aquatic Olympians Face a Toxic Stew in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO — Health experts in Brazil have a word of advice for the Olympic marathon swimmers, sailors and windsurfers competing in Rio de Janeiro’s picture-postcard waters next month: Keep your mouth closed.


Despite the government’s promises seven years ago to stem the waste that fouls Rio’s expansive Guanabara Bay and the city’s fabled ocean beaches, officials acknowledge that their efforts to treat raw sewage and scoop up household garbage have fallen far short.


In fact, environmentalists and scientists say Rio’s waters are much more contaminated than previously thought.


Recent tests by government and independent scientists revealed a veritable petri dish of pathogens in many of the city’s waters, from rotaviruses that can cause diarrhea and vomiting to drug-resistant “super bacteria” that can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems.


Researchers at the Federal University of Rio also found serious contamination at the upscale beaches of Ipanema and Leblon, where many of the half-million Olympic spectators are expected to frolic between sporting events.

里约联邦大学(Federal University of Rio)的研究人员还发现,富裕人群光顾的伊帕内马海滩和莱伯伦海滩也受到了严重污染。据预计,在专程来看奥运会的50万游客当中,很多人都会趁着赛事的间隙在那些海滩上嬉戏。

“Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from all those microorganisms,” said Dr. Daniel Becker, a local pediatrician who works in poor neighborhoods. “It’s sad, but also worrisome.”

“外国运动员简直是将在人类的粪便中游泳,所有这些微生物让他们面临着患病的风险,”在当地较为贫穷的社区工作的儿科医生丹尼尔·贝克尔(Daniel Becker)说。“这相当可悲,也令人担忧。”

Government officials and the International Olympic Committee acknowledge that, in many places, the city’s waters are filthy. But they say the areas where athletes will compete — like the waters off Copacabana Beach, where swimmers will race — meet World Health Organization safety standards.

政府官员和国际奥委会(International Olympic Committee)承认,该市的许多水体都很脏。但他们说,运动员比赛的地方——比如将举办游泳赛事的科帕卡巴纳海滩周边水域——达到了世界卫生组织(World Health Organization)的安全标准。

Even some venues with higher levels of human waste, like Guanabara Bay, present only minimal risk because athletes sailing or windsurfing in them will have limited contact with potential contamination, they add.


Still, Olympic officials concede that their efforts have not addressed a fundamental problem: Much of the sewage and trash produced by the region’s 12 million inhabitants continues to flow untreated into Rio’s waters.


“Our biggest plague, our biggest environmental problem, is basic sanitation,” said Andrea Correa, the top environmental official in the state of Rio de Janeiro. “The Olympics has woken people up to the problem.”

“我们最大的祸端,我们最大的环境问题,在于基本的环境卫生,”里约州最高级别的环境官员安德烈·科雷亚(Andrea Correa)说。“奥运会让人们意识到了这个问题。”

Foreign athletes preparing for the games have long expressed concern that waterborne illnesses could thwart their Olympic dreams. An investigation by The Associated Press last year recorded disease-causing viruses in some tests that were 1.7 million times the level of what would be considered hazardous on a Southern California beach.

正为赛事做准备的外国运动员一直担心,介水性传染病会让他们的奥运梦化为泡影。美联社(The Associated Press)去年公布的一份调查报告称,经检测,某些水体中的致病细菌含量严重超标,是美国南加州海岸警戒标准的170万倍。

“We just have to keep our mouths closed when the water sprays up,” said Afrodite Zegers, 24, a member of the Dutch sailing team, which has been practicing in Guanabara Bay.

“水涌过来的时候,我们必须闭上嘴,”现年24岁的荷兰帆船队队员阿弗罗迪特·席格斯(Afrodite Zegers)说。该帆船队目前正在瓜纳巴拉湾训练。

Some athletes here for the games and other competitions have been felled by gastrointestinal illness, including members of the Spanish and Austrian sailing teams. During a surfing competition here last year, about a quarter of the participants were sidelined by nausea and diarrhea, organizers said.


Officials have been grappling with a welter of challenges as they scramble for the opening ceremony on Aug. 5. The Zika virus epidemic has dampened foreign ticket sales, crime is soaring, and the federal government has been paralyzed by the impeachment proceedings against Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff.

在争分夺秒地为8月5日的开幕式做准备的过程中,官员们奋力应对着各种挑战。兹卡病毒疫情拖累了门票在国外的销售;犯罪率急剧上升;另外,联邦政府在弹劾巴西总统迪尔玛·罗塞夫(Dilma Rousseff)的程序启动后已经处于瘫痪状态。

Last month, the acting governor of Rio de Janeiro, Francisco Dornelles, declared a state of emergency, claiming that a lack of money threatened “a total collapse in public security, health, education, transport and environmental management.”

上个月,里约州代理州长弗朗西斯科·多内列斯(Francisco Dornelles)宣布该州进入紧急状态。他说资金不足有可能让“公共安全、医疗、教育、交通和环境管理全面崩溃”。

Still, Olympic organizers say the sports venues are nearly complete, and the federal government has provided emergency funds to the state. Many athletes expect the games will proceed without serious complications.


The city’s contaminated waterways, however, are another matter.


“It’s disgusting,” said Nigel Cochrane, a coach for the Spanish women’s sailing team. “We’re very concerned.”

“让人直犯恶心,”西班牙女子帆船队的教练奈杰尔·科克伦(Nigel Cochrane)说。“我们非常担心。”

For many, the sewage crisis is emblematic of the corruption and mismanagement that have long hobbled Latin America’s largest country.


Since the 1990s, Rio officials claim to have spent billions of dollars on sewage treatment systems, but few are functioning.


In its 2009 bid for the games, Brazil pledged to spend $4 billion to clean up 80 percent of the sewage that flows untreated into the bay. In the end, the state government spent just $170 million, citing a budget crisis, officials said.


Most of the money in the state’s sanitation budget has been spent on trash-collecting boats and portable berms to stop the sludge and debris that flow into the bay.


Critics say they are cosmetic measures.


“They can try to block big items like sofas and dead bodies, but these rivers are pure sludge, so the bacteria and viruses are going to just pass through,” said Stelberto Soares, a municipal engineer who has spent three decades  addressing the city’s sanitation crisis.

“它们可以拦住比较大的东西,比如沙发和死尸,但河水本身含有大量污泥,因此细菌和病毒畅行无阻,”花了30年时间来处理该市环卫危机的市政工程师斯泰尔伯托·苏亚雷斯(Stelberto Soares)说。

Soares said he laughed when he heard officials promise to tackle the sewage problem before the games.


An earlier, multibillion-dollar effort financed by international donors yielded a network of 35 sewage treatment facilities, 500 miles of conduits and 85 pumps, he said. When he last checked, only three of the pumps and two of those treatment plants were still working; the rest had been abandoned and mostly vandalized, he said.


Asked what had happened, he threw up his hands. “In Brazil, they say sanitation doesn’t get votes.”


Romario Monteiro, 45, a second-generation fisherman who has spent a lifetime plying Guanabara Bay, recalls when the waters were crystalline and the fish were plentiful.

现年45岁的第二代渔民罗马里奥·蒙泰罗(Romario Monteiro)在瓜纳巴拉湾打了一辈子的鱼。他很怀念那个水质清澈、鱼也很多的年代。

Now his net often yields more trash than fish, including television sets, dead dogs and the occasional dolphin killed by ingesting plastic bags.


“It’s disgusting,” Monteiro said.


As he pulled out from the harbor near his home on Governador Island, he pointed to a half-dozen pipes, exposed at low tide, belching out human waste from the island’s 300,000 residents.

蒙泰罗住在戈韦纳多岛(Governador Island),驾船驶离家附近的港口时,他指给我看把岛上30万名居民的排泄物送进水中的那些管子,它们在退潮之际现出了真身。

“When you open up the fish, their innards are black with oil and muck,” he said. “But we clean them with soap and eat them anyway.”