Tom Raftery loves his home city of Cork, Ireland, but he hates the trash that's piling up everywhere. And, he's not the only one. Lately, tourists have been giving Ireland a bad environmental report card, and Irish residents are 10 times more likely to complain about litter than are other European Union citizens.
In hopes of shaming Cork's local government into action, Raftery has created RealCork.com, a website that posts photos of a tourist bureau's nightmare: overflowing garbage bins, trash-strewn alleyways and smut-laden fountains.
“I firmly believe that if the streets were cleaned regularly and if there were more empty bins, people would be less inclined to drop litter,” Raftery says.
But Dublin native Ruth Walsh told the Associated Press that littering is just what Dubliners do. Instead of trying to change residents' mentality, officials should spend their energies keeping the streets clean, she said.
This won't be easy, according to Dublin's trash manager Matt Twomey. Ireland's waste management infrastructure has not kept pace with the country's booming economy, and now officials are struggling to update the system.
Still, Raftery is encouraged by his site's success. “RealCork.com is having tremendous results,” he says. “[For example,] two sections of the river highlighted on the site finally have been cleaned up.”
Source: Associated Press
Murals with a Mission
Authorities in Lima, Peru, hope the watchful eyes of Jesus and the Virgin Mary will discourage littering in a city plagued by trash. To shame its Roman Catholic population into using garbage bins, the city has painted images of Christian holy figures on walls along some of Lima's dirtiest streets.
So far, the plan is working. In Lima's bustling colonial center, streets lined with religious murals are staying cleaner than ever before. And, the local media is spreading the city's message.
“It's one thing to break municipal law,” a leading tabloid said recently. “It's another to lack respect for God.”
Cleaner streets spell good news for a city struggling to attract tourists to its 16th century churches. In the words of one municipal officer, “The saints have made a miracle.”