Rio de Janeiro's top environmental official visited the trash- and sewage-filled lagoon bordering the city's future Olympic Park on Tuesday and hopes to begin cleaning the area soon.
"The lagoon cannot wait any longer, we need to make a decision," environmental secretary Andre Correa said, according to the Associated Press. "I'm ready to green-light the start of work."
The Jacarepagua lagoon is so full of raw sewage "that during low tide, it forms islands," and decomposing trash beneath the water's surface releases bubbles of gas, the AP reports.
Correa's plan calls for six million cubic meters of sludge to be pumped out of the lagoon, creating deep canals that will allow clean water to flow in from the nearby Atlantic Ocean.
The lagoon borders several Olympic venues in the "Barra" zone, one of four areas around the city that will host events. The Olympic Arena, which will host basketball and gymnastics, is built on its shores, as is the golf course. Barra "will be the heart of the" Games," organizers say.
- Dan Gartland