The eyes of the world will be on Rio de Janeiro over the coming four years. The World Cup will be held in Rio in 2014, followed by the Summer Olympics in 2016.
But before the tourists start to arrive, Rio wants to make itself a little bit prettier. The first step: removing the giant billboards that could distract eyeballs from the city's natural beauty and architecture.
The Rio Limp ("Clean Rio") campaign got its start last week when workers started tearing down billboards around the white-sand beaches of Guanabara Bay. First to go were billboards for Nikon cameras, Kia cars and a bank.
In a statement to the media, Rio's city hall said that the billboard removal "will reduce the visual pollution and environmental degradation in a city renowned for its natural and architectural beauty." Future ads will be restricted to 107 square feet or less.
According to local news sources, there are about 300 billboards overlooking the beach. The Associated Press reports that after the work at the beach is completed, the beautification campaign will extend to the city's wealthy zones, then to beach neighborhoods, and then to the rest of the city.
In related news, former fighter pilot Yves Rossy completed an 11-minute journey through the air above Rio de Janeiro last week — in a jetpack. You can see the beach around Guanabara Bay in the video below, as well as other famous Rio landmarks like the statue of Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain. He completed his journey by landing (via parachute) on Copacabana beach.