What really causes astonishment is the complete lack of discussion of this topic by the media, politicians, public authorities and our performing artists in order to revert this picture, which has caused significant damage to the pride and self-esteem of those who live in the city of Salvador.
Salvador, Bahia (Brazil), 03 February 2010
Recently, Salvador was ranked as the city with the dirtiest beaches in all of Brazil. That is nothing new… What really causes astonishment is the complete lack of discussion of this topic by the media, politicians, public authorities and our performing artists in order to revert this picture, which has caused significant damage to the pride and self-esteem of those who live in the city of Salvador.
It is unbelievable that the people in Bahia who have the power to influence our people and our visitors to improve their attitudes on our beaches, do not seize the opportunity to at least promote awareness-raising campaigns. It is the general lack of education of the masses that has produced that garbage, much more than the lenience of public power.
A majority of the beach garbage is a product of the consumption of food and beverages. It would be ideal if there was a garbage can at 10 meter intervals of beach or that vendors themselves be held accountable to take back the garbage and dispose of it adequately. But that is difficult to make happen. As a result, the ideal is that everyone keeps their garbage until they dispose of it at an appropriate locale. I am sure that there are sufficient garbage cans or containers close to the beach; however, what tends to happen is that laziness or lack of guidance takes over and garbage is left on the beach.
Our performing artists could strongly assist. Since they have the power to take masses of people to delirium and collective kissing, I imagine it would be simple for them to influence people to improve their attitude towards garbage on the beach. They could even compose songs which actually educate as well as entertain. This is what our country needs!
This is also how the press should behave. Regular articles on the severity of the problem and the necessity to change some habits should become a consistent topic within the media.
Also, advertising agencies could jump on the bandwagon, adopting this cause.
Even our politicians, with their savvy eyes for publicity, could be served by focusing on this topic.
Then there are our relentless activists of NGOs and alternative groups. From these I have seen some creative and very interesting solutions indeed…
But you cannot compare the power that these groups have to change behaviors of people in Salvador, even more during Carnival, to that of celebrities, such as Ivete Sangalo, Daniela Mercury, Chiclete com Banana, OLODUM and so many others who have the national and international press at their feet.
With their popularity, these music stars have a great responsibility to this problem. I believe that (and this is more than a lofty assumption) the real citizens of Bahia have had their pride and self-esteem injured by the news of the dirty beaches rankings. Real people of Bahia were ashamed! The feeling is that we are both without education and support…
I am resentful! I have removed cans, glasses, bottles, barbecues, cheese and shrimp sticks almost daily during my dives at Porto da Barra beach. I am injured by the bad ranking of my city and I am trying to do my part by writing this article. It is a pity that I do not have the power to influence masses with my tuneless voice, my image without style, my lengthy writing and my complete lack of access to the Carnival floats, TV programs, newspapers, and big shows…
However, I am sure that within the collection of so many powerful artists there will be those whose self-esteem has been equally damaged as the citizens’ of Bahia and whose pride has also been shamefully diminished. I believe in the possibility of these artists seizing the opportunity to reach the masses. They have the visibility in the media to share this indignation in an effective, educational and (why not) profitable way.
There is no lack of competency, creativity and intelligence among these artists. So what remains to be seen is if an education campaign action against garbage will launch this summer. Maybe a rhyme could even inspire a song…
Translation: Global Garbage and Kimberley Jardine