By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After concerns from the international community related to the dangers that the pollution of the Guanabara Bay and Lagoa would have on athletes competing in aquatic sports in this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, officials scrambled to find why the water in one of the pools at the aquatic center had turned from blue to green.
On Wednesday, organizers said that the change in color occurred due to an increase of acidity in the water and poses no risk to athletes.
“A sudden change in alkalinity, this was the reason. PH levels are at the required standard. We treat the two pools at night and alkalinity levels were improved, we expect the color back to blue soon,” executive director of communications of the Rio 2016 Committee, Mario Andrada told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday.
According to Andrada a team of experts was brought in to examine the water and found that a very low concentration of alkaline, leading to the proliferation of microscopic algae which affected the water’s color.
The day before (Tuesday, August 9th) spectators and athletes were stunned to see the sudden change in water color at the pool where the diving competition was occurring.
The difference was even clearer because the water at the pool right next to it, used for water polo competition, continued blue. On Wednesday, however, to the dismay of organizers, not only the water at the diving pool remained green, but the water at the polo pool, which had been clear blue the day before, started to turn green.
FINA (International Swimming Federation) also issued a statement on Wednesday confirming that the water color on any of the pools inside Rio’s aquatic center was a threat to athletes. “FINA can confirm that the reason for the unusual water color observed during the Rio 2016 diving competitions is that the water tanks ran out some of the chemicals used in the water treatment process.”
According to the entity its Sport Medicine Committee conducted tests on the water quality and concluded that there was no risk to the health and safety of the athletes, and ‘no reason for the competition to be affected’.