RIO DE JANEIRO: Between the pandemic and the rainy weather, it was a muted New Year's celebration on Rio de Janeiro's famed Copacabana beach, but there was a silver lining Saturday (Jan 1): 50 per cent less garbage to collect.
The iconic Brazilian beach city's sanitation service, COMLURB, said it had picked up 320 tonnes of trash from New Year's Eve celebrations, less than half the annual average of 724.2 tonnes from 2018 to 2020.
That included 167 tonnes in Copacabana following a 16-minute fireworks display over the beach, down from a pre-pandemic average of 340.6 tonnes, it said.
"We're going to have the beaches and seaside clean much earlier than usual," said COMLURB head Flavio Lopes, as nearly 5,000 trash collectors finished the clean-up job by 9:00am.
After canceling its world-famous New Year's Eve festivities last year because of COVID-19, Rio resumed a low-key version this year, encouraging revelers to stay close to home and scrapping concerts and public transportation.
The festivities in Copacabana drew just a fraction of the record three million people from two years ago, as rainy weather added to the dampened atmosphere created by the Omicron variant.
Brazil has registered nearly 620,000 deaths in the pandemic, second only to the United States.