However one counts the amount of garbage left in Mexico City’s zócalo Tuesday night, it was a lot.
Two very different figures showed up in news reports yesterday after clean-up crews went to work on the litter left behind by some 40,000 people estimated to have turned up for independence celebrations.
President Enrique Peña Nieto gave the traditional Grito de Dolores, there was music and there were fireworks.
And there was garbage: 30 tonnes of it, said Televisa. No, it was more like 207 tonnes, reported El Universal, quoting Federal District authorities.
Either way, it was a lot of garbage and — here most news outlets were in agreement — required 300 workers to clean it up, along with 30 trucks, 11 sweepers, two water trucks and a crane.
It meant cleaning an area totaling 82,280 square meters in the zócalo and surrounding areas, as well as 16 kilometers of nearby streets.
The grito was heard throughout Mexico Tuesday night, delivered by governors, mayors and other officials. And there was garbage elsewhere in Mexico, too.
In Puebla they cleaned up 30 tonnes, and in Ciudad Juárez an impressive 100. But that wasn’t enough to beat Morelia, capital of Michoacán, and its 150-tonne haul, up from 120 last year.
Garbage was not a problem in Ixtapaluca, State of México, where 21 adults and a child suffered the effects of tear gas after the ceremony was over. Authorities later blamed the incident on an attempt to sabotage the celebration by an individual who went through the city’s esplanade, spreading the gas.
Others were also disinclined to celebrate. A social media campaign urged people not to attend the event and, using the hashtag #NoVayasAlGrito, or “don’t go to the grito,” suggested there was nothing to celebrate.
A student who survived the violence in Iguala, Guerrero, last September also urged citizens not to attend. Mexico is not alive, said Omar García, Mexico is dying.
“How can we have a grito on September 15 and say we have independence? Independence from what? How can we say that Mexico lives? It’s not possible.”
Although there were indications that the Mexico City zócalo was not full on Tuesday night, the crowd was a large one — and they left enough garbage behind to prove it.