By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – As Rio braces for Carnival 2016, and the 505 bloco street parties that sweep across the city, it also faces the large inebriated crowds looking for a place to go to the bathroom. Authorities this year will slap a R$510 fine on anyone caught urinating in public, which has increased dramatically from the R$170 fine last year.
The change was adopted by the city in August, but this will be the first Carnival with the increased fine. Last year there were 1,264 people fined during Carnival, and this year 235 teams, each with an agent of COMLURB (government cleaning company) and municipal guard police, will be on the look-out.
According to Riotur, there will be 25,496 portable toilets made available throughout the city, starting during the pre-Carnival festivities, which starts this weekend. The number is four percent higher than last year.
The Secretary of Tourism, Antônio Pedro Figueira de Mello, however, warns that we must rely on the good sense of the revelers. “We may have 200,000 [together at one bloco] that will not be enough if people do not cooperate. Everyone has to help and have respect. They must treat the city as if it were their own home.”
American expatriate in Rio, and co-owner of the Blue Agave Mexican bar and restaurants, Jason Galeria, said “My feeling is it will help clean up the streets since during this time of year, public urination is a huge problem. I think the lixo zero [zero trash] fines helped cut down on cigarette butts in the street. I hope to see the same progress with the [urination].”
Riotur estimates that this year’s Carnival will bring R$3 billion to Rio’s economy, and officials expect nearly one million tourists to visit the city, with the hotel occupancy reaching 85 percent. For a complete list of all Rio’s Carnival 2016 blocos, see the wikirio page.