“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”
In 2006 the world learned that Rio de Janeiro was awarded the Olympic Games in 2016. At the same time, the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) made the decision to “approve” Guanabara Bay in Rio as the venue for Sailing. It was well known to ISAF that the waters of the Bay were horribly polluted, but accepted the Rio’s promise that the Bay would be clean by 2016.
All along ISAF has been monitoring the clean up efforts. And as we all know, very little has been accomplished. With ISAF and each country’s sailing organizations called Member National Authorities (MNA), which are the ISAF dues paying members, remaining eerily silent now that the reality is here that Rio continues to make the Ocean their dump for the raw sewage of 7,000,000 people, for their untreated hospital wastes, for their farm run-off, for their industrial wastes, and 110 tons of garbage monthly.
ISAF and the MNA’s can make a stance. Call it punishment for not meeting clean up goals, call it support for assuring that the sailors are safe, call it providing a fair field of play, ISAF can move the venue out of Guanabara Bay with a vote, phone call and a press release.
Instead, ISAF and the MNA’s by their silence now support polluting the waters of the world. They accept the conditions of pollution, of which they control. ISAF can move the event to clean water. ISAF can move the event to water that won’t make competitors ill. But they don’t. They could take a stance that polluted waters for sailing the Olympics will never happen again. Their inaction is the equivalent of the action to support polluting the world’s waters
We learned the 1992 Barcelona, Spain Sailing Olympics did have a water clean up, but sailors reported the venue was still polluted. We have learned that the waters in 2008 Qingdao, China Sailing Olympics were polluted. And now with 2016 Sailing Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, once again, the organization who controls where the sailing venue is to be held – ISAF, endorses the use of a heavily polluted sailing venue in Guanabara Bay.
The problem is not the country that solicits holding the Olympics, the problem is an extremely weak Federation that does not stand up to make a stance that sailing in polluted waters will not be tolerated. ISAF could become the champion for clean water, be a positive beacon of inspiration bringing good press to the sport of sailing, but plays political games instead. Sickening.
Rio de Janeiro has a history of starting Bay clean up projects and failing to get anywhere with them. This time it was more Rio rhetoric with little follow through. There must be consequences to Rio’s lies. The world can no longer tolerate this abuse of our ocean waters. And ISAF can make a stand against pollution.
The sailors of the world need to revolt against their country MNA. In the U.S. that would be US Sailing, in Australia that would be Yachting Australia, in Germany that would be the Germany Sailing Association, and all other 137 Member National Authorities worldwide. They don’t deserve any respect when all of them vote together to tolerate the destruction of not just the water, but of all life that depends on the water to be clean of human population wastes.
ISAF and the MNA’s are not leaders. They are not being responsible. They are sticking their collective heads in the sand to a really important global issue for the future of the world itself, and for the sailors in today’s world.
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