Olympic officials should worry about the water in their own backyard

Concerns over water quality at the Rio de Janeiro’s Olympics Games next year should prompt concerns here in New Zealand, where rowers at Lake Karapiro are exposed to water that’s becoming increasingly polluted.

A TV3 report last night claimed rowers and Olympic officials were worried about athletes getting sick from poor water quality at venues in Rio.

“If athletes are concerned about the effects to their health from water in Rio, they should question the state of our waterways here. Lake Karapiro, New Zealand’s premiere rowing venue, has suffered from declining water quality and toxic algal blooms in recent years. One rower noted the lake had a pink tinge to it,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

“The lake is being put under pressure by dairy farming, with nitrogen and other nutrients entering the waterways. These nutrients cause algal blooms and pollute the water.

“Upstream of Lake Karapiro, Landcorp, the Government’s farming enterprise, is converting former forestry land to dairy farming, putting even more pressure on the ecosystem of the Waikato River, and causing more pollution downstream.

“Landcorp’s conversions undermine the work being done by existing dairy farmers and other stakeholders who are spending millions to save the river.

“The Waikato River is a taonga to Maori, but the Government sees fit to continue pushing more polluting dairy cows onto the land. When prices for milk solids are falling, it doesn’t make sense to sacrifice the environment and the mauri of the river in this way.

“If rowers are worried about getting sick from the water in Rio, they should also look to their own backyard, and ask why Landcorp conversions are allowed to continue to pollute the river they rely on,” Ms Delahunty said.



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