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Rio Gives Up on Olympic Pledge as Bay Clean-Up Workers Fired

  • IDB-funded expansion of sewage treatment won’t be concluded
  • Rio in crisis as state runs out of money to pay workers
Trash floats near the rocky shores of Niteroi at the Guanabara Bay in this aerial photograph taken above Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016.
Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg
Updated on

Rio de Janeiro is abandoning its promise to treat the raw sewage polluting the Guanabara Bay as workers building a pipeline network and treatment plant are being fired and the state sinks into fiscal crisis.

A $450 million loan agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank to build the infrastructure needed to collect and treat sewage will expire in March and the Brazilian Treasury won’t allow its extension, according to Rio’s environment secretariat. That means works will slow to a halt, its press office said in a statement. In a written response late Friday the Treasury said that legal doubts prevented its external financing commission from evaluating the loan extension requested by Rio two months ago.