Tonnes of dead fish cleared from Rio Olympic lagoon

Last updated at 12:47
A local rower practices among dead fish at the Rodrigo de Freitas LagoonAFP

Workers have removed more than 33 tonnes of dead fish from a lagoon in Brazil, where Olympic rowing and canoeing events are expected in 2016.

More than 60 people have been trying to clear the fish from Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas since last week.

Rubbish collectors remove dead fish from the lake in Rio de Janeiro, BrazilEPA

The smell at the lagoon has led to complaints from residents and local rowing clubs.

The government say the fish died because of a sudden change in water temperature.

Rio Olympic prep is 'worst ever'

Dead fish with rowers in a lagoonReuters
The dead fish are a species called twaite shad

But scientists say that's not true; the fish were starved of oxygen by pollution caused by sewage, rubbish and chemicals in rivers that run into the lagoon.

Rio government official Luiz Fernando Pezao said earlier this week that there was "not going to be time'' to finish the cleanup ahead of the games next August.

Seawater just as bad

It's not the first problem the Olympic organisers have had with pollution.

A beach in Rio
Rubbish and sewage are a big problem on the beaches of Guanabara Bay

Guanabara Bay, the area of sea where the sailing is due to take place, is famously very dirty, with sewage and rubbish pouring into it from cities nearby.

GB sailor Charlotte Dobson has been practicing out in Rio and last month told the BBC that the filthy waters are a real problem.

"There's a lot of debris in the water which is really bad for the racing because you get stuff caught around your boards," she says.