By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Cloudy skies and the threat of thunderstorms throughout the weekend did not discouraged thousands of partygoers from flocking to the streets over the weekend in Rio de Janeiro for pre-Carnival ‘blocos’.
The city’s urban cleaning company, Comlurb, collected 11.1 tons of garbage left by revelers who paraded in the more than twenty groups that celebrated on Saturday and Sunday.
The Banda de Ipanema, one of the most traditional blocos of Rio’s Carnival, summoned thousands to the streets of Ipanema neighborhood in its first of three parades during the 2019 Carnival season. It was also the ‘bloco’ that left the most trash along the way: 5.2 tons.
“Carnival has already started,” said one of the band’s founders, Claudio Pinheiro. “We want the people of Rio de Janeiro to have fun, join the parade and make the parade their own,” added the 83-year-old reveler.
Partygoers attending other popular ‘blocos’ also left tons of paper, cups and plastic containers as they passed through neighborhoods.
The city began the 2019 Operação Carnaval (Operation Carnival) on Saturday, which monitors the passage of the blocos.
Until Carnival, at the beginning of March, Rio de Janeiro has a full agenda of blocos parades during the next few weekends. Many of the most popular blocos plan to hold parades more than once during this Carnival season.
The two main infractions during the Carnival period according to officials are the irregular disposal of trash, such as plastic and paper containers, PET bottles and aluminum cans, and urinating in public areas.
Rio officials have determined that the fine for throwing trash on city streets this year is R$205.60 and for those caught for urinating in public areas the fine will be R$563.30.