By Anna Kaiser, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Rio’s “Lixo Zero” (Zero Trash) program went into full swing last Tuesday, after being postponed in July. The anti-littering campaign, which has already reprimanded 171 people as of yesterday afternoon, fines those found incorrectly disposing of trash between R$157 and R$3,000.
The program intends to break littering habits in Rio, where massive amounts of trash are left on the beaches and busy streets every day.
For any trash smaller than a soda can, the fine is R$157, while trash larger than a soda can and smaller than one square meter will be R$392. Waste larger than that carries a R$980 fine. Improperly discarding of large items could result in a R$3,000 penalty.
“Lixo Zero” went into effect in Rio’s Centro, including two of the city’s main arteries, Avenida Rio Branco and Avenida Presidente Vargas, as well as in the Port Zone. The next phase will include Leblon and Ipanema, followed by Copacabana, Botafogo, Catete and Glória.
Program enforcers will take citizens’ CPF (Tax Identity) numbers in order to ensure they pay. Those who fail to pay their fines will be left with a tainted credit score that will affect credit card and loan applications.
Cigarettes and matches are part of the list of items that cannot be disposed of improperly. A man received a R$157 penalty yesterday for throwing a match on the ground after lighting a cigarette.
While changing littering habits is essential for the city’s preservation, many critics think the punishment does not fit the crime. With minimum wage at R$763, minimum-wage-making offenders will be paying about twenty percent of their monthly salaries for tossing a soda can on the sidewalk in Centro.
According to COMLURB, Rio’s Municipal Urban Cleaning authority, the city spends over R$600 million per year to collect the trash found on its streets and beaches. Wasted collected in Rio de Janeiro amounts to over 3,300 tons per day.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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