Brazil’s football Mecca corroded by fans’ urine
By Nicole Veash in Rio de Janeiro http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtmlxml=/news/2000/10/08/wmar08.xml
Just think about urine and they say it’s good for wounds, drink it every morning and sort of stuffs. And now we see it’s colossal power in eradicating such structures. If it’s good for structures then it must be for our health?!
THE Maracana, the world’s largest football stadium and the Mecca of Brazilian soccer, is being eaten away by corrosion by football fans relieving themselves on the terraces.
Not wanting to miss even a second of a match by using the lavatories, the Brazilians have long held to a tradition of urinating in the stadium’s access ramps. The problem came to light after officials noticed that the entrances’ concrete and steel structures were eroding badly. Luis Eduardo Cardoso, an engineer at the 50-year-old stadium, which was built to host the only World Cup finals held in Brazil and is home to the Flamengo club, said: “There is corrosion in all the entrance points to the stadium.
“We believe that the main cause of this structural damage is people going to the toilet. All those gallons of urine contain a lot of ammonia which acts with amazing speed. It eats through the concrete and then acts like acid on the steel girders, which is why the corrosion is so devastating.”
So seriously are the authorities taking this threat to the historic stadium that they are launching an “anti-urine” patrol. An eight-man squad will patrol the corridors of the stands – which can hold 220,000 spectators – and forcibly guide the fans towards the lavatories. Mr Cardoso said: “When there are big games it can get pretty disgusting here with a really horrible smell. There is a huge volume of this liquid. If we don’t do something about it the very structure of the Maracana could be destroyed.”
Apart from the urine patrol, the stadium officials are spending thousands of pounds on renovating the lavatories. They plan to have brand new facilities next to the bar, along with more lavatories at every entrance point. Another problem, according to Francis Carvalho, president of Rio de Janeiro’s sports authority, is that the stadium’s management has been reluctant to invest in comfortable, modern lavatory facilities.
Mr Carvalho said: “The fans have a tradition of getting really mad and smashing everything in sight if their team loses. They go to the bathrooms and rip toilets from the wall and break all the pipes, so we haven’t really wanted to make the bathrooms any more enticing for them.”
As well as renovating the lavatories, the Maracana’s engineers are starting work on replacing the damaged concrete and steel girders in the entrance areas. The engineers plan to erect new steel pillars which will later be encased in concrete.