These Billboards Use DNA Imaging To Publicly Shame Litter Bugs

You have an empty water bottle, or coffee cup, or cigarette butt, and you really need to throw it away as you walk along the street towards your destination.

Being the environmentally-conscious person that you are, you hold out for a public garbage can, but with every step you grow more and more irritated by the cumbersome piece of waste still in your hand.

So, seeing no garbage can in sight, nor any onlookers, you decide to take the easy route; you throw the trash on the ground. Sure, you feel a little bad for littering, just not bad enough to pick it back up and find a garbage can. It’s not like anyone is going to call you out for being a litterbug, right?

But what if someone did? What if there was a system in place that could identify anyone who littered and plastered their face for everyone to see, shaming them for actively hurting the environment? That may seem a little far-fetched, but that’s exactly what’s happening in Hong Kong.

A city of 7 million people that produce 16,000 tons of garbage every day, Hong Kong has a serious littering problem. People simply throw their trash onto the street, not caring about the environmental impact, thinking that littering is a faceless crime.

The Hong Kong Cleanup Initiative, partnering with Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong, decided to reverse that line of thinking by forcing all of those who litter in the streets of the city own up to their act. Dubbed the “Face of Litter Campaign,” the way they did it is both clever and quite surprising.

After collecting 4,000 tonnes of trash negligently thrown onto the streets of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Cleanup Initiative took the garbage to Parabon Labs. There, a team of scientists utilized Snapshot™ DNA phenotyping to create an image of who threw out each piece of waste.

From there, the reconstructed faces were then plastered on billboards all around Hong Kong, publicly shaming them for littering.

A tad bit extreme, and arguably invasive, the Face of Litter Campaign may be controversial, but the technology behind the initiative is beyond innovative. Not to mention the amount of media attention the campaign received for the very real issue of littering.

Check out this video for a much more visual rundown of the Face Of Litter Campaign and its use of DNA imaging, and head to the BMedia feature to read more.

Featured image courtesy of: highwaysagency

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