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Sunday, November 29, 2009

On the Not So Clean Beaches of Rio

Give us today our daily garbage.

I have told you a lot about the most famous of Brazilian cities in terms of its natural blessings like beaches surrounded by mountains. Breathtaking.

I have told you how some of the well-to-do in the south side when dog-walking, forget to pick up after their pooches have done their business and how terrible it is when you are the one to step on it. Revolting.

I have told you of the injustice, if you can call it that, of seeing house-help hanging on for dear life when trying to wipe the outside of the huge windows they are forced to clean without safety gear. Aren’t they paid to do it, one might ask? Sure they are.

I have told you of the violence on the hills at quaint favelas – shanty towns. If they have to down a police chopper, they will. Boy, I have told you quite a bit.

Luckily, for the Cariocas, or natives of Rio, people decide to turn a blind eye to all that and give them the benefit of the doubt and crowd their beaches and restaurants when they come to visit. Also, the sheer exhilaration of mingling with the locals and doing stuff locals do is adrenaline-filled.

There is one thing we do not do when we grace the town with our moneyed selves: we usually clean up after ourselves when at the beach. Aren’t we given the plastic bags where we stuff our refuse? Not the locals, though. I am not saying this because I am intent on spreading malicious comments about the local population, mind you.

It is the very mayor of the city, Eduardo Paes, who throwing his hands up, says he cannot take it any more: "people should be less piggish" he is quoted as saying. He is referring to the amount of refuse cleaning crews have to collect from the ultra-popular beaches at the end of the day. At a huge cost.

If only the natives were to be more considerate and use more of the bins available to really bring out the inherent beauty of the sea shore otherwise blanketed by plastic bottles, chicken bones (40% of the refuse), and coconut shells (these account for 60% percent of the garbage) lying around, and then the pigeons…

The mayor says he will do more, hopefully, to bring out awareness to cleanliness by installing more trash bins and other technological gadgets to warn locals that yes the shore is untreadable. Let us all wish him good luck.



  1. Writing funny and perhaps controversial pieces like the above might sound okay in Brazil.

    Not really. A fellow blogger is to pay about 8 thousand dollars to a teacher somewhere in this country because she did not like what she read.

    Saying that the population of a particular area of the country is hygiene-economical requires pluckiness.

    However, it is important to emphasize we humans tend to do things people might frown upon when nobody is looking.

    The refuse on the streets and the colorful image texts like this conjure up are not exclusive to Rio de Janeiro. They are widespread in Brazil.

    We tend to think that only ecological awareness and the benefits that follow with it will change behavior. We have to start early.

  2. It's the same all over the world. In summer the poor little rich kids with their muscular six pack bodies carry crates and crates of beer to the beach and dont have the strength to take their empties home with them. The homeless however do this for them as they need the money from the bottle deposit to survive. JJJJ2009