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Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 11:00pm

Can Public Shaming Stop Littering?

The City of Savannah is teaming up with local businesses to launch a new anti-litter campaign to reduce garbage on city streets. During an Earth Day news conference at Forsyth Park on Wednesday, civic and business leaders announced the plan aimed at reducing litter by 50 percent within the next year.

Mayor Edna Jackson says the Keep Savannah Clean Campaign is important because “litter is ugly, trashy, and it gives our city a bad name.” The initiative will focus on public education through advertising and stepped-up enforcement of anti-littering rules.

The city is partnering with media organizations and businesses, including Parker’s convenience stores.

So far, the group working on the project has raised about $140,000. The campaign will rely on social pressure to discourage litter through what organizers up are calling a “litter crew” that will use traditional and social media to spread the message. They’re encouraging residents and visitors to Savannah to use the hashtag #littercrew to draw attention to people littering. Television station WTOC will accept videos of people littering and air them on the nightly news. The Savannah Morning News will publish pictures of people caught in the act.

Parker’s CEO Greg Parker says the campaign to expose littering “is sort of the big brother effect; it’s using social media at its best to affect behavior.” Parker says he believes Savannah could become a national model for litter reduction.


Sarah McCammon