Every day in the UK over 2 million items of litter are dropped on our beaches, fields, towns and roadsides, spoiling our landscape, harming our wildlife and threatening our planet.
Clearing up the litter dropped in the streets and green spaces in England alone is costing the UK taxpayer £1 billion a year. This is money that shouldn’t really need to be spent, and money which could be much better spent on public services. £1 billion would fund 38,644 social care workers or pay the running costs of 4,400 libraries. Alternatively, it would enable the NHS to pay for 33,200 nurses or 26,900 paramedics or allow the fire brigade to fund 31,990 extra firefighters each year.
As we know, the earth is a big place to keep clean. But a recent app developed by TED Resident Jeff Kirschner has created a community that’s crowdsource-cleaning the planet – Litterarti, an app for users to identify, collect and geotag the world’s litter. After tracking trash in more than 100 countries, Kirschner hopes to use the data he’s collected to work with brands and organisations to stop litter before it reaches the ground.
The most commonly tagged items so far have been plastic, cigarettes, paper, cans and bottle caps. But we’re doing well – the UK is currently the third most active country in the world on the app, having collected 22,425 bits of rubbish from our streets! We want to make it all the way to the top of the rankings, and think we can do so with you help.