Brazil’s Trash Talkers

Brazil’s image has taken a public relations bruising in the lead up to the World Cup because of continuing reports about political corruption, construction delays, and environmental hazards. One group, however, is working to help clean up that image—literally. ASMARE, a non-profit organization based in Belo Horizonte, which will host six matches throughout the tournament, employs about 200 garbage collectors whose job it is to help clean up the city’s streets and separate the trash for recycling. It wasn’t easy at the beginning because trash pickers and beggars are looked down upon in Brazilian culture, but the movement, with its emphasis on eventual self-reliance, soon caught on and now the organization continues to grow.