Everyone loves Mardi Gras. People travel from everywhere to experience the parade floats, the glittery masks, the delicious Southern food, and the rich culture of New Orleans. However, after the massive parades run through, many locals speak out about the state New Orleans is left in.
The day after Mardi Gras has been criticized for the extreme amounts of trash that need to be cleaned from the streets each year. The main culprit of this litter is the plastic bead necklaces that are thrown out everywhere, eventually ending up all over the ground, in sewers, trees, and various other places in the environment. Many are calling for the reselling of beads to Mardi Gras organizations that would like to reuse them for future years.
However, it is not only the plastic pollution that becomes a problem with these beads. 25 million pounds of them are estimated to be thrown into the streets each year, but they happen to be filled with toxic levels of chemicals as well, made cheaply overseas with cruel labor. Traces of dangerous chemicals such as lead and mercury have been found in the beads that are then touched by people. How does this problem then get solved? Beads have been a staple in Mardi Gras for quite some time, because of this, many people would not be content with getting rid of them. There are a few organizations with the goal of making Mardi Gras greener, one of which being ZomBeads. This organization’s goal is to make beads and other throwables for Mardi Gras out of more environmentally friendly materials.
It is great to attend Mardi Gras and indulge in a culturally rich holiday. However, it might be a good idea to recycle what you receive in the crowd or help support organizations like ZomBeads to make Mardi Gras greener.