August 17, 2017

The Road to Rio – The Release of the Guanabara Bay Report Card

On July 21, 2017, the Guanabara Bay Report Card was released in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is the first ecosystem health report card in Brazil, and the second report card we have done in South America. The first report card in South America was for the Orinoco River in Colombia last year. For the Guanabara Bay Report Card, we partnered with PSAM (Environmental Sanitation Program of the municipalities surrounding the Guanabara Bay) with support from the Inter-American Development Bank.

The cover of the report card.

The report card was released at the Museum of Tomorrow during an event called the Bay of Tomorrow, which included many presentations and over 400 participants. Dave Nemazie and I released the report card with the help of Joao Coimbra and Bob Summers.


Dave Nemazie and Alexandra Fries at the report card release event. Image credit: Alexandra Fries.


Dave Nemazie presenting the results of the report card. Image credit: Alexandra Fries.


It was a packed room at the release event with over 400 people in attendance. Image credit: Alexandra Fries.

The report card focused on water quality indicators for Guanabara Bay and its Basin. The Bay and Basin both received D grades, showing poor water quality throughout a region that supports almost 9 million inhabitants.


Scores for Guanabara Bay.


Scores for the Basin (watershed) of Guanabara Bay.

The international spotlight was shown on Rio, and Guanabara Bay, during the Olympics last year, with the poor conditions evident. To clean up the bay, sewage treatment and proper trash collection and disposal are imperative. The report card highlights the sanitation and trash problems in the bay, and the enormous need for these services to be available for people living around Guanabara Bay.


In the municipalities around Guanabara Bay there are very few people receiving sewage treatment services.

During the lunch break of the event, some dolphins came to join the report card release! These dolphins do not live in the Bay primarily, but came in through the channel probably looking for fish. The Museum of Tomorrow is on a pier sticking out into the Bay, and the dolphins were on the northern side of the pier.


Dolphins outside the Museum of Tomorrow during the release event. Image credit: Alexandra Fries.

After the break, Bob Summers presented the framework for the restoration plan of the Bay which he developed through his work at KCI, Technologies Inc. Having a restoration plan in place is really important for making progress in reducing pollution and stress on Guanabara Bay.


Bob Summers presenting the restoration plan. Image credit: Alexandra Fries.

The release event was a big success in releasing the report card, the restoration plan, and bringing people together to talk about the Bay. Overall, the people of Rio and the municipalities surrounding the Bay need to feel their connection to the Bay and take responsibility for the Bay. If everyone does a small part, together they can protect and restore Guanabara Bay. It isn’t just about “Team Rio,” it’s about “Team Guanabara Bay.”


“Team Rio” and the Museum of Tomorrow with the Bay in the background. Image credit: Alexandra Fries

The report card and other resources are available online at

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About the author
Alexandra Fries is a Science Communicator at the Integration and Application Network. Alex has a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University.
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