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Sustainable Rotterdam

The city is re-inventing itself

Zomer Carnaval 06

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Check the foto slideshow
feat. JC Diehl, thanks!

Once a year, Rotterdam becomes a truly multiethnic party. Yesterday the centre was packed with faders, color, rhythm, food, drinks, sun, smiles and lots of body shaking; it was the celebration of Zomer Carnaval, where South American and Caribbean inhabitants from the city and all over the country show their best outfits and haircuts for the sake of joy. It's a time to see and be seen where some love to exhibit and others take a voyeuristic role admiring and criticizing the show (almost everyone is a show in itself). It is the greatest demonstration of Rotterdam cosmopolitan spirit. However, we are disappointed with one aspect related to organization of the event: waste

Big events like Zomer Carnaval are a good opportunity to engage citizens to respect and make proper use of the public space; that is why we were surprised that littering was openly promoted. No extra waste bins were placed along the parade route, neither near by the concerts area which rapidly converted the pavement into a carpet of plastic bottles, cans, food packaging and leftovers. I agree that the logistics and organizational aspects of such event are complex and require substantial effort from municipality agents and sponsors (btw, branding largely dominates the event), and some may argue tha it is more cost-effective to entirely wipe out the streets after once the party is over than collecting provisional bins. However, in a day that everyone is invited to enjoy the city, the message sent was "It is ok to litter, someone else will come after to clean up". How many people took the message home and will apply it in the future? Does it make sense to apply fines all year long for improper use of waste systems when during a massive celebration like Zomer Carnaval you tell the opposite?

Benefits of Temporary Bin System in Events
  • Overall reduction of littering
  • Improve experience of the event
  • Less intensive & more efficient after-event clean up
  • Waste stream separation: glass, plastic, paper+organic
  • Overall reduction of injuries (broken glass + summer shoe = it hurts)
  • Improved overall image: city, municipality, citizens, visitors
  • Branding oportunity. Sponsors: 1 - Rotterdam: 0
  • Preaching by giving example
Similarly, few months ago the municipality launched a campaign promoting respectful attitudes towards the common space. Amongst the messages in form of posters, it was this one picturing a dog excrement with the text "Thanks Ms. Smith". We wonder how trustful the municipality is when it is easy for anyone to step at immense excrements from police horses along pedestrian areas like the Lijnbaan.

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posted by Oriol P., 5:04 PM

2 Comments:

Hi Uri,

Thanks for your visit and comment on my blog (rotterdamdailyphoto). Funny to see you were also at the opening of studio Hergebruik! You don't happen to know Jamie who works there do you?
She is our aupair (it's a small world)
Anyway, promise to come back some other time!
commented by Blogger dutchie, 11:43 AM  
I do agree with the comments about the horse poop!!. I mean the street was being "littered" just before the carnaval participant were about to parade, some of them were almost barefooted so you can imagine if whilst dancing they were to "take the wrong step". At any rate the police should use motorbikes to open the pared or use some well place clothes to avoid that kind of situation...yaak!
commented by Anonymous Inigo, 10:54 AM  

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