“After the Folly”

The only difference is that the fools on the bottom of the sea are not jumping, dancing and kissing each other to the frenetic and deafening sound of the bands. Instead they are rolling from side to side in a morbid choreography, silently moved by the waves of the sea, without any dance, without any fun, without any life and without any poetry.



Bernardo Mussi

Salvador, Bahia (Brazil), 04 March 2010

“After the Folly”

O Fundo da Folia



Ten days after Carnival, I decided to dive with two of my friends in the area of Farol da Barra Beach to confirm the news that an absurd quantity of garbage was spread along the bottom of the sea in that area.

O Fundo da Folia



Despite the fact that the water was a little dirty due to rainfalls on the previous day, we identified the spot right away. Actually, the garbage was not spread but concentrated in a canal, probably as a result of the tide movements. What a pathetic scene! There were at least 1500 metal cans and plastic bottles!

O Fundo da Folia



From the surface, the picture seemed like one of these aerial images that we see of the Carnival floats during Mardi Gras. The only difference is that the fools on the bottom of the sea are not jumping, dancing and kissing each other to the frenetic and deafening sound of the bands. Instead they are rolling from side to side in a morbid choreography, silently moved by the waves of the sea, without any dance, without any fun, without any life and without any poetry.

O Fundo da Folia



We were terrified, yet we hesitated to remove the garbage that day, hoping to be able to entice some of the media to report about this horrific problem and to include underwater images. Our hope was to share these Carnival after effects with our people and the masters of folly.

O Fundo da Folia



We contacted at least three broadcasting stations and they all asked us to send them emails with pictures, which we did immediately. We waited for two days in vain for a response. Finally after no reply to our documentation, we decided to remove the garbage in order to avoid any further damage.

O Fundo da Folia


O Fundo da Folia


Our consciences weighed heavy during the days we waited for a reply from the media. But we couldn’t simply remove the garbage before trying to publicize the details. We believed media coverage would have a stronger impact than our immediate solution of a physical garbage clean up.

O Fundo da Folia


O Fundo da Folia


We believed that the repercussion would raise awareness among Carnival entrepreneurs and artists, among public authorities, the press, funding companies and our people. It was a good try but it did not happen…

O Fundo da Folia



So, three days after contacting the media, we dove to remove the garbage.  Before setting off, we contacted a friend in order to film our removal efforts and memorialize the event for future works and maybe even a news report on TV.

O Fundo da Folia


With no oxygen cylinders and equipped with only two Stand Up Paddle boards and some large bags, four brave divers set about removing as much garbage from the sea bottom as we could on that afternoon.

O Fundo da Folia


O Fundo da Folia


O Fundo da Folia


O Fundo da Folia


Some time before sunset, we finally managed to put all the garbage on the sidewalk next to the beach.

Many curious people, residents and tourists, gave us offended looks and continued to ask us where all of this garbage came from? Our immediate answer: Carnival!

O Fundo da Folia



I will tell my gracious readers right away that I am not against Carnival. On the contrary, I am a supporter for many reasons, but I think that the reality of the party does not accurately correlate with the beautiful scenes and positive press the media promotes.

I know that the commitment from the sponsors and the old war of vanities against the other carnivals in Brazilian states, such as Pernambuco and Rio de Janeiro, contribute to this. What I see is an outdated and oversized model, with no socially positive contribution, headed in the opposite direction of the sustainable development of our City of Salvador.

That submarine garbage is a very small symbol of a much larger problem.  What makes things even worse is the fact that Carnival is sponsored in solidarity by big business, artists and, most of all, by public entities, which have the duty to improve our security, our health and our education.

O Fundo da Folia


O Fundo da Folia


O Fundo da Folia


I will use this opportunity to express similar indignation about the summer events occuring at Porto da Barra Beach.

The events “Música no Porto” and “Espicha Verão” have not brought any good to our city, besides the opportunity to see performing artists live and for free. Apart from that, the garbage, the bad smell, the environmental degradation, and the urine in the streets is tragic. Equally devastating is the impressing quantity of street sellers in all public spaces and the carelessness with historic patrimonies causing irritation for those “quality tourists” we should welcome to our city with open arms.

Espicha Verão 2010. Foto: João Ramos / Bahiatursa


Espicha Verão 2010. Foto: Luciano da Matta / Agência A Tarde


Espicha Verão 2010. Foto: João Ramos / Bahiatursa


It’s like looking at a beautiful apple with a beautiful, shiny skin but when eaten, is brown and rotten on the inside…

After our cleanup dive, we saw a very different sunset. The pile of garbage on the sidewalk of Farol da Barra had become an attraction. And with God’s help, the final disposal was handled by valuable, professional garbage removers.


O Fundo da Folia



And now the garbage is gone from the sea bottom and all that remains is the video documenting our efforts. It remains to be said that the masters of Carnival and of the events at Porto da Barra; and our dear fools should wake up and realize that something needs to change.

O Fundo da Folia


The bottom of the sea does not deserve this shiny pile of garbage. It should be noted that the ocean usually violently retaliates against the aggressions it has suffered.

There is no fun at all after the folly!

O Fundo da Folia



Photo Gallery

Slideshow

Photos of O Fundo da Folia: Francisco Pedro/Global Garbage info@globalgarbage.org

Photos of Espicha Verão 2010: João Ramos/Bahiatursa and Luciano da Matta/Agência A Tarde

Photos of Carnaval 2011: João Ramos/Bahiatursa and Manu Dias/Agecom



2 Responses to ““After the Folly””

  1. nikki caputo disse:

    Thank you!

    In kindergarten my class was asked to draw pictures of “what we wanted to be when we grow up.” I illustrated mountains of garbage dotted with myself and a crew of homeless people. We were mining – harvesting treasure from our societal discards.

    Buckminster Fuller witnessed, “I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing—a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process—an integral function of the universe” (Fuller, 1970). Participation is vital to social intelligence; it is vital to democracy. Participatory learning, action and collaboration are vital to developing feasible, efficient, effective, equitable and adaptive strategies.

    I am very driven to advance global behavior change – catalyze viral phenomenon of people picking up the garbage that is in our everyday surroundings. This simple shift could catastrophically reduce marine debris/plastic pollution

    I am a huge fan of the power of the individual – of people – of community – of the crowd. This simple change (which would not cost anything for individuals to do) will change the world (on a scale comparable to global carbon emission reduction). I am in process of developing simple interactive/animated map that anyone with a cell phone can populate with data about where garbage in our everyday environments lives. This map will be useful to illustrate that litter is a significant part of the problem. It can reveal patterns of trash concentration and flow so that: waste-to-energy companies can develop viable enterprise; public services can identify efficient collection and cleanup strategies; as well as help to support a this campaign for WE the people to pick up the litter that has become commonplace accessories to practically all spaces. This mapping campaign will draw attention to not only where garbage exists (in our yards, streets, gutters, fields, waterways, lives…) but also to help catalyze the “aha!” – the “holy! – the “80% source of marine debris that the UN attributes to land-based sources is my garbage…our garbage…the garbage in my driveway, lawn, school yard, playground, parking lot, store…” WE the PEOPLE CAN CHANGE THIS…can change the 80% statistic by picking up what we see and helping this behavior (cleaning the trash in our daily surroundings) go viral – become the new normal.

    Thank you so much for these videos and photos. I have (and will continue) to circulate links to your work widely as they illustrate the power of action..of people.

    Bravo,
    Nikki

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