Hong Kong’s new littering campaign, “The Face of Litter”, will likely leave pedestrians thinking twice before throwing trash on the ground.
The project uses DNA analysis from pieces of garbage strewn about public places to generate a digital face that is plastered onto billboards across the city, effectively putting the litterer to shame.
“The Face of Litter” was launched last year on Global Earth Day as part of the Hong Kong Cleanup Initiative. It aims to raise awareness of littering in the city and encourages others to change their behavior.
Oglivy & Mather Hong Kong, the marketing communications agency that came up with the campaign, sends samples of litter found on the streets to US-based Parabon Nanolabs.
Collecting discarded chewing gum, cigarette butts and tissues, Parabon uses Snapshot, its DNA phenotyping system, to read genetic information from each sample. With that data, it can accurately predict eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, and face shape.
Age, which is integral for an accurate face but cannot be predicted by DNA alone, is determined by a combination of other factors such as the location of the litter and the object itself.
After faces of the culprits are built, they are used to create “most wanted” posters for litterers that can be found in high-traffic areas, MTR stations and at “the scene of the crime”.
“It was intended to provoke a conversation to create positive social change for the people of Hong Kong. The prospect of this idea alone, we hope, will be enough to make people think twice about littering,” Lisa Christensen, CEO and co-founder of the non-profit organization Hong Kong Cleanup, said in an SCMP report. “Sadly, we suffer form a serious ‘pick-up-after-me, mentality, and this simply must be changed.”
Hong Kong’s HK$1,500 litter fines have hardly helped reduce the 16,000 tons of waste dumped in the streets everyday, but perhaps the shaming technique should be considered for Shanghai, where a majority of residents have already said they’re in favor of heavy fines for Metro litterbugs.
[Images Via SCMP]
By Sharon Choi
Watch their campaign video here: