- Savannah, GA has begun using 10 trucks in its collection fleet to display anti-litter public service announcements.
- "There's a word for people who litter: Criminal," is one of the slogans created by Keep Savannah Clean. The group is sponsored by the Savannah Economic Development Authority, grocery chain Parker's, the Savannah Morning News and others.
Don't Litter!! That's what the City of Savannah is trying to get across with these garbage trucks. More at 6:30am pic.twitter.com/KkNhI24kod— Ashley Liotus (@ALiotusWJCL) May 13, 2016
- This campaign began in 2015 with the goal of reducing litter by 50% in the city.
Litter is a problem that has vexed cities of all sizes for centuries. It costs local governments money to collect, clogs storm drains, and often has additional environmental effects. Some feel that the sight of stray waste can even reduce residents' quality of life and lead to more littering. While cities such as Portland, ME have attributed some of their litter to open waste containers, much of it seems to come from human behavior.
Cities have taken a variety of approaches to the problem, but no method has proven completely successful because, even if fines are raised, they're hard to enforce. New York City's $7 million CleaNYC program includes new resources for increased street basket collections and highway cleaning. Legislation was proposed in the New York City Council last year to increase penalties for littering and local officials have also been funding neighborhood projects. Paris recently took a similar approach to cigarette butt litter by increasing fines and introducing 30,000 new bins with cigarette extinguishers. Keep America Beautiful's cigarette litter program marked a 52% decrease in participating communities last year.
All of these initiatives and many more have involved strongly worded ad campaigns, though some feel that public shaming is the only way to truly get the message across. Keep Savannah Clean is offering people a chance to win prizes for sending pictures that show their fellow citizens in the act. Last year, a Hong Kong environmental group used DNA collected from pieces of street trash to create composite images of litterers and display them on billboards.