Wrigley´s, McDonald´s or Veolia are only some of the firms who have joined a petition addressing the British Government, hoping to develop a new and effective large-scale plan against littering.
Small acts like throwing a piece of paper or a chewing gum to the ground may seem simple and harmless, but it actually mounts up to become a very expensive problem for any city. In the specific case of the UK, these uncivil actions can cost a staggering total of 1 bn pounds (1.368 million €), not counting the possible side effects to the people´s health or to the city´s own aspect and environment.
The charity NGO Hubbub published their “Litter Manifesto” a few months ago, a 5-point declaration with the target of promoting a more responsible behavior from the citizens, as well as a stronger compromise and engagement from the administrators, institutions and companies. Each of these points targets one of five dedicated profiles:
- Governments: Hubbub compels them not to take littering lightly, to develop strong strategies “with teeth” and to stimulate fundraisings and alliances with stakeholders.
- Companies, Local Authorities and ONG´s: Hubbub suggests that they become a “third force” of sorts that could take an active part in the legislation process at the side of Governments as well as developing new ideas with the public.
- Local entities: the Manifesto encourages these neighbor or syndical organizations to join forces and to design smaller-scale solutions, sharing the results of these actions if they become successful, so that the projects can be replicated.
- Citizens and public: perhaps the most important factor in this equation, the citizens should adopt cleaner behaviors, treating their streets and neighborhoods with respect and pride.
- Media: Hubbub also takes newspapers, magazines and blogs into account, and encourages them to bring littering and street sanitation back into public debate.
This manifesto has received backing from several organizations and companies. Among them we can list the Marine Preservation Society, the British Soft Drinks Association, the British Plastics Federation or Price Waterhouse Coopers. McDonald´s, Veolia and The Wrigley Company have been some of the latest additions to the list, and they added their signature to a letter that was sent during the past week to the newspaper The Guardian, who has backed the Manifesto as well.
The Litter Manifesto and its five points are part of a larger-scale pilot project known as Neat Streets, that seeks to reevaluate the current strategies against littering and the treatment of waste. Waste generation has been rising a lot these years due to the ever-increasing consumption of junk food, among other factors.