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Funding problems hit plan to clean Rio's polluted waterways ahead of Olympics

February 1, 2016

Funding problems hit plan to clean Rio's polluted waterways ahead of Olympics

Oliver Balch
Monday 1 February 2016 12.12 GMT

With the Olympic Games just months away, Rio de Janeiro has a problem: rubbish. Hundreds of tonnes of unprocessed waste flow into the Guanabara Bay every year. The problem isn’t new but the prospect of Olympic swimmers and sailors taking to Rio’s contaminated waters have put the issue in the spotlight.

Previous promises from Rio officials to “regenerate Rio’s magnificent waterways” through investment in sanitation have not delivered results. Could the Dutch environment ministry have better luck? In an ambitious and diplomatically unorthodox move it has pulled together some of the country’s leading waste experts, including businesses and NGOs, to propose a variety of innovative solutions under the name Clean Urban Delta Initiative [pdf].

“Guanabara Bay is so polluted that we need all hands on deck to solve this sooner rather than later,” says Yvon Wolthuis, a sustainability expert and co-developer of the Clean Urban Delta Initiative. “Plus, there’s so much happening in an urban bay environment like Rio that you can’t just rely on one governance model or technology to fix it.”

The initiative has backing from the World Bank and the Dutch Development Bank and aims to showcase Dutch water management expertise. It lays out 20 separate proposals to deal with Guanabara Bay’s water pollution and solid waste challenges.

Read more at The Guardian.

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