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Rio garbage boats aim to clean Olympic waters

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January 6, 2014 03:18 PM EST | AP


RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Authorities in Rio de Janeiro are using garbage boats to pluck trash and household debris from the waters of Guanabara Bay, which will host sailing events during the 2016 Olympic Games.

Three so-called "eco-boats" are now plowing the waters, picking up everything from plastic bottles to old couches from the bay, which has been heavily polluted for decades.

But critics say Monday the boats don't address the more pressing problem of sewage pollution.

Nearly 70 percent of sewage in Rio is untreated, and flows freely into the bay and other waterways that will host Olympic events.

Gerson Serva heads the Rio government effort to clean the bay. He says the goal of the boats is to make sure there is no floating garbage in its waters during the Olympics.