Circular economy

Rio Olympics, no medals for sustainability

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

In spite of the promises, the Rio Olympics are anything but green, says USA magazine The Grist. Here is a list of the problems.

No sustainability medals for the Olympic Games of Rio de Janeiro: the issue was brought up by the USA environmental magazine The Grist, among others. The magazine takes stock of the ecosustainability of the Rio Olympics: in spite of the great promises concerning the respect for the environment made by Brazil when it applied to host the Olympic Games, the results leave a lot to be desired.


Athletes have been advised to keep their mouths closed when swimming or practising other water sports, as Olympic waters have been found to have virus levels 1.7 million times higher that what would be considered worrisome in the U.S. Rio constructed barriers to keep trash out of the main areas where events are being held, but that won’t stop the sewage and pathogens from floating in.


Rio is the fourth most congested city in the world. The subway extension – which cost $ 3 billion – was massively delayed and has just barely opened. And earlier this year, a new bike path constructed for the games collapsed, raising safety concerns.

Injustice to residents

An estimated 77,000 people have been evicted from their homes to make way for infrastructure for the games, and entire neighbourhoods have been bulldozed.

Impact on habitat and animals

The Olympics golf course was built in a sensitive coastal area, and environmentalists say it destroyed habitat and harmed native plants and animals, including endangered species. But it didn’t drive all the animals away: the golf course is still teeming with wildlife like sloths, boa constrictors, and miniature crocodiles, so organizers have hired five handlers to keep potentially dangerous animals away from players during game time.

Shoddy construction

The Olympics require a vast amount of construction in a short amount of time, and that’s led to buildings that aren’t up to code. Haphazard construction has already caused gas leaks, a small fire, and plumbing mishaps in the Olympic Village. Conditions have prompted some athletes to stay in hotels or even luxury cruise ships instead.

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