Rio’s Headache – Drowned in Urine!

This year the carnival blocks in the street attracted far more public than the estimated about 2 million. It was 4,877,900, spread across seven areas of the city. The South Zone, for example, had an estimated audience of 744,050 but received, however, 1,542,900 revellers.

With the passing of each carnival block, the revellers leave a trail of joy and dirt. The smell of urine and destruction. Not always are the chemical toilets positioned on the route of the parade sufficient to ensure clean streets after the happening. For example, carnival revellers urinated on walls and plants, a few meters from public toilets. On the outskirt of Ipanema, not even the glass wall of an apartment building was spared. And even worse, after being kicked several times during a parade, the glass wall ended up broken. Part of the marsh vegetation from Ipanema was also destroyed.

In Ipanema and Copacabana people run to the sea shore and pee in the ocean. Just a few examples of the problem.

And the solution is a poor and burdensome one. It took 16,000 litres of water to clean the Avenida Rio Branco, in the Centre, after the passage of the bloco Cordão da Bola Preta.

And although carnival also gave a lot of work to the street sweepers, as in the wake of the blocks and the samba schools, they collected 1,304 tons of garbage every day, while in a normal weekend it is some 27 tonnes, it is the bad habit of urinating in the streets that frustrates the cariocas as well as the authorities.

According to the municipal authorities there were 7,400 chemical toilets and 40 containers with sanitary cabins temporarily located in several areas. They gathered over a period of the 22 carnival days around 1.95 million litres of urine, the equivalent of three Olympic swimming pools full of piss.

Until March 13, 424 samba schools and similar paraded the streets. The passage of this blocks with in their wake an ocean of revellers, has everything to do with Rio’s headache during carnival.
Although In the opinion of various associations of residents and representative bodies, the cleaning, the parades, the crackdown on unregistered vendors and the orientation of the transit made progress, made the partying more civilized, but one last issue insists and doesn’t go away: the peeing in the streets. Albeit the number of chemical toilets have grown 200% compared to the last carnival, at least 671 people have being arrested for urinating in the streets.

But what is the solution? Historically it’s one of the typical bad habits of the people of Rio, the carioca. Peeing in the streets of Rio have caused controversy among locals since 1776.
In 1776, in a first attempt to end the habit of Rio residents (about 43,000 inhabitants at that time) to dump the urine of the chamber-pots into the streets, Antônio de Almeida Soares Portugal, the then viceroy, decreed: “Any guy who is throwing ‘wastewater’ out of the window must yell before the ‘water goes”. But still the urine was allowed to be thrown into the streets, you just had to warn the passerby.

A famous picture of Debret showing a nobleman urinating in the street. The bad habit is deeply rooted in the past. The (Brazilian) population, especially in Rio, has the nasty habit to dirty his environment and leave it to be cleaned by others - according to the historian Prof. Milton Teixeira

The above  historic gem was recorded by the writer Luís Edmundo de Melo Pereira da Costa at the beginning of the last century. In his book “Rio de Janeiro at the time of the Viceroys (1763-1808)”, he describes in 500 pages a dirty city, where there were no public restrooms, a lack of hygiene under the population and even the nobles interrupted their parading to urinate in the streets.

What will Rio look like during the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016?
Imagine the Brazilians, assisted by hordes of British and Dutch, drowning Rio in urine!