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By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Rock in Rio 2013 mega-music festival is taking place in Rio from September 13th to 22nd, and again is using its popularity to raise awareness about social and environmental issues. This year they launched a campaign against littering and trash on the streets and beach in the Cidade Maravilhosa.

Rock in Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
The Lixo no Lixo, Rio no Coração (Trash into the Trash bin, Rio at Heart) campaign, photo by Rock in Rio.

The project “Lixo no Lixo, Rio no Coração” (Trash into the Trash bin, Rio at Heart) aims to raise awareness and educate Cariocas about not throwing their waste into the streets. It is part of the festival’s “Por um mundo melhor” (For a better world) program and also collaborates with COMLURB (Companhia Municipal de Limpeza Urbana – the government waste disposal company) and the Prefeitura of Rio de Janeiro.

Urban waste was chosen as the main topic of Rock in Rio’s social program in 2013, partly because the city had been elected as one of the dirtiest by a TripAdvisor study in February. The topic also coincides with the city’s introduction of the Lixo Zero law, which is also supported by Rock in Rio, although its implementation has been postponed until August 20th.

“We believe that small changes in attitude in the daily lives of each of us have a major impact in building a more harmonious society. The purpose of this action is to emphasize that the garbage pollutes the city, annoys people and even scares the tourists away. We also want to draw attention to the financial loss that that means [for Rio],” explains Roberta Medina, vice president of Rock in Rio in a press release.

“Rio has a problem with waste, because people lack manners and education. During WYD, when people from all over the world came, there was no waste problem. The pilgrims took their waste with them or at least compiled it in one place,” a trash collector, Jayme Perreira Duarte, told The Rio Times.

Therefore, Rock in Rio wants to use its popular brand to bring the city’s issue to attention, such as on one on the festival’s social network sites, which have more than 8 million followers, as well as in events throughout the city.

COMLURB workers announcing Rock in Rio program against waste in the streets, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
COMLURB announcing the Rock in Rio program against trash in the streets, photo courtesy of COMLURB.

A remarkable part of the campaign took place on Sunday August 4th, as the stretch between Jardim de Alah and Rua Vinicius de Morais on Ipanema beach was not cleaned after a popular beach day. On the following Monday, 2.7 tons of waste were collected on the 1km long stretch and piled up to show how much waste was thrown away.

During high season the COMLURB of Rio collect around 180 tons of waste on Rio’s beaches on a Sunday, with 1,800 people working in the clean-up.

So far, 7,000 new waste bins have been installed in the city as part of the campaign. However, some had to replace those that were destroyed during recent protests.

COMLURB claimed that in the areas were campaigns have taken place, the waste has already been reduced. Mr. Perreira Duarte confirms this by explaining, “The project will certainly help. In Centro and Largo do Machado one can already see a difference. It is great! We will become civilized people.”

Rock in Rio’s social and environmental programs already have some tradition. In 2011 the topic of “Por um mundo melhor” was musical education of the youth. During the project 2,200 instruments were donated and distributed among 150 NGOs all over Brazil.

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