One of the enduring images of Rio's beaches -- coconuts opened to yield their milk -- is about to become a thing of the past. The environment secretariat of the host city of the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games says the big green fruit is an unhygienic eyesore and is banning its sale from December first.
Go on Ipanema Beach at the end of the day and you'll see a mountain of coconuts that people have left on the sand, said Jovanildo Savastano, the official in charge of the beaches. Up to 30 tons of empty coconuts are recovered every day, he said.
Beachgoers with a craving for coconut juice will still be able to slake their thirst, but only by buying it in bottles or cans.
Environmentalists say the fruit is biodegradable and has no negative ecological impact. Eduardo Paes, the city's Mayor, has offered to rethink the ban, but only if the thousands of people hitting the beaches pick up after themselves.
Some environmentalists argue however that the fruit is biodegradable and presents no negative ecological impact. Its liquid is also excellent for health, they say.
This ban favours companies more than the people, environmentalist Gerhard Sardo said, stressing that empty drink cans are already a problem.
Besides cleaning up Rio beaches, Brazilian President Lula da Silva vowed last month to ensure The Marvellous City is also free from violence during its hosting of the 2016 Olympic Games.