Knowledge Channel

Public Assets: Taking care of what is ours

Do you throw garbage on the floor of your house? And on the streets, on the bus or on the beach? If you said yes to any of these questions, we need to talk about it. Public assets are ours and taking care of it, as well as the environment, is a duty of all of us.

The garbage problem

In 2012, before the Zero Waste Law was implemented, 1,255,690 tons of garbage were collected on the streets and beaches of Rio de Janeiro – that's enough to fill three MaracanĂ£ stadiums! On festive dates, the numbers are even more alarming: in Carnival 2018, 486.5 tons of garbage were collected in just 5 days.

Improperly discarded garbage can cause flooding and clog drains, in addition to causing a bad smell and the proliferation of diseases and polluting water, soil and groundwater. Part of the waste problem is caused by the population, which does not dispose of waste correctly, but the State is largely responsible, which must invest in education and public policies for sustainable development.

Basic sanitation and belonging

As citizens, it is our duty to take care of the city where we live, but in practice this only happens when we really feel welcomed by it.

Basic sanitation is an essential right guaranteed by law in Brazil, but not everyone has access to this service. In general, the most disadvantaged regions are the ones that suffer most from the lack of sanitation, which, in addition to including the supply of treated water and the care of sewage networks, is also related to the collection of waste in urban centers and rural areas.

The lack of sanitation entails a series of disadvantages, among them, the lack of belonging of the population to the city where they live. Imagine living in a neighborhood without access to running water and garbage collection while the neighboring neighborhood has access to all these services and then some?

It is clear that governments must take responsibility for the well-being of the population, but we can also do our part to take care of the environment. How about starting slowly? Look around. What can you do for your street and your neighborhood? What about your school or neighborhood where you work?

Check out some tips to take better care of what is yours:

1. The street is the extension of our house. So don't throw trash on the floor - put it away until you find a trash can.

2. Do not deprecate public furniture. The benches in the squares are for sitting, so why not take advantage of it?

3. Use public space. Enjoy the parks, squares and beaches, because they belong to us too!

4. Save water and avoid waste. We need it to supply our neighborhoods and the entire city.