Rio grapples with a public urination problem during Carnival.

It's a city known for throwing great parties. But with great parties, comes great responsibility.

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes has been trying to call attention to a critical problem: public urination during the Carnival street parades, attended by millions on the eve of Lent. More than 800 men and women have been arrested since the celebration began on January 20. And they are none-too-happy about it. Reuters reports:

"Nobody likes the mess, but I don't know how you can punish someone for doing something they must do," said Joao Pimentel, author of the 2002 book Blocos, about Rio's street Carnival.

Apparently, a judge agrees. In 2011, he threw out a public urination charge, saying a person's biological needs "trumped Rio's public-order campaign." But the mayor says without the arrests, the city will descend into smelly chaos.

"There's too much beer, too many people and never enough toilets even if you could get to one in time," Pimentel said.

Those 400 toilets, one for every 5,500 people, would have begun overflowing if only about 1 in 8 of the Bola Preta revellers used one, said Joao Aveleira, a medical doctor and Carnival enthusiast who founded the Suvaco do Cristo (Christ's Armpit) Carnival group 25 years ago. The parade takes place under the outstretched right arm of Rio's famous Christ the Redeemer statue.

Photo credit: Nacho Doce/Reuters

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    This Startup Helps You Buy a House (If You Hand Over Your Airbnb Income)

    For buyers in hot real-estate markets, a new kind of mortgage offered by a company called Loftium might offer a way to purchase a home.

  2. Design

    Octopuses Are Urbanists, Too

    Scientists were surprised to find that this smart and solitary species had built a cephalopod city. Why?

  3. Transportation

    Portland Prepares for the Freeway Fight of the Century

    A grass-capped highway expansion in a gentrifying neighborhood? Sounds familiar.

  4. Rescue crews and observers on top of the rubble from a collapsed building that fell in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City.

    A Brigade of Architects and Engineers Rushed to Assess Earthquake Damage in Mexico City

    La Casa del Arquitecto became the headquarters for highly skilled urbanists looking to help and determine why some buildings suffered more spectacularly than others.

  5. A rescue worker talks with others below as he stands inside an apartment building whose first four floors collapsed, in the Lindavista neighborhood of Mexico City on Wednesday, September 20, 2017.

    The Booming Mexico City Neighborhoods Shaken by the Earthquake

    The sought-after enclaves of Condesa and La Roma were among the parts of the city that sustained significant wreckage.