We live in an age where everyone is armed with a camera phone, We are flooded with hundred of pictures of food and other seemingly mundane things on Instagram and Facebook everyday. While everyone has been looking up at the sky and capturing all the beauty around us, one man turned has been looking down – he’s been busy photographing litter.
Litter is one of the oldest problems we have. All of us at some point in our lives have contributed to the problem by discarding a wrapper, a plastic cup, a used bag on the streets. Litter also seems to be unending and no matter how much you pick up from the street, there’s always more to take its place. But this man – the man who always looks down – and there are so many like him – finds beauty in litter. He sees the potential of a litter-free world.
Jeff Kirschner is the founder of Litterati – an online movement with the vision of a litter-free world. Its simple, very effective and here is how it works. 1) find a piece of litter 2) take a photo with Instagram 3) upload with hashtag #litterati 4) throw away or recycle the piece of litter.
Litterati is one of the first successful attempts at documenting litter. One can know where the litter originated and what it was. Whether it was a candy wrapper, a discarded coffee cup, chips packet or cigarette butt. One can know how often people litter in a certain area and whether there are more systemic issues at play like a lack of trashcans in high-traffic areas. More importantly it lets one feel like they actually made an impact by cleaning up their streets. To date almost 11,000 pieces of litter have been documented and properly discarded.
What I like about Litterati is its potential for small and large-scale organizations. A high school could conduct a Litterati-based trash collection drive to clean up their surrounding areas, and small and large scale businesses could do the same. It makes litter approachable and fun to clean up. And its so easy to get involved! We already have the smartphone and the app, we just have to use it for some social good. Movements like Litterati make us feel like we are part of something larger, that has a lasting impact on all of us. It makes us all active socially responsible citizens and it’s starts with a simple step – looking down.