Session 2

The Rio Olympics are starting in a few days, but there are concerns over water and air pollution in Rio. Join Sian and Catherine in News Review as they bring you this story and the language you need to understand it.

Sessions in this unit

Session 2 score

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

News Review

Water pollution at the Rio Olympics

Days before the Olympic Games are due to start, there are concerns about the dangers of pollution in Rio.

Language challenge

If someone is very calm and relaxed, we say they are as cool as a ...

a) coconut
b) cucumber
c) carrot

Watch the video and complete the activity

The story

With just four days until the start of the Olympic Games in Brazil, reports indicate that levels of pollution in Rio de Janeiro remain alarmingly high.

Guanabara Bay, where sailing events will be held, is heavily polluted by raw sewage and chemicals. Research also suggests the authorities have failed in their promise to clean up Rio's air quality.

Wyre Davies - BBC news

Cleaning up Rio's chronically polluted waters was a promise that the city made when it was chosen to host the Olympic Games, but it simply hasn't been kept.

We're out now on Guanabara Bay, where Olympic sailing events will take place. The smell from the oil on the surface is overpowering and these are waters full of physical waste. Furniture, even dead animals, have been found in the water here.

But most of all it's the sewage from the favelas, and even the middle-class parts of town, that floods down into the bay, making this one of the world's most polluted waterways.

Key words and phrases


very dirty

waste water from toilets

teeming with
containing a large number of

not surprised or worried

areas of cities in Brazil where housing is very poor 

To do

Try our quiz to see how well you've learned today's language.

News Review quiz

3 Questions

Now you've watched the video, try to answer these questions about the language in the news

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You can download the audio and PDF document for this episode here.

Language challenge - answer

The answer is: b) as cool as a cucumber

End of Session 2

Join us in Session 3 for Lingohack - our video which teaches you words from the news using the latest BBC World News bulletins.

Session Vocabulary

  • alarmingly

    very dirty

    waste material from homes and other buildings

    teeming with
    containing a large number of

    not surprised or worried

    poor and crowded area of a city in Brazil