autonomous vehicles will battle litter!

As part of the Swiss National Cleanup Day and World Cleanup, I removed all the trash from a stretch of road and a patch of forest here in Langenthal.  Just 7 days later, I went for a walk along the same route.  Litter had already returned.  I picked up 12 pieces of trash.  12 pieces in 7 days is 1.7 pieces per day.  If it continues at that rate, there will be 625 pieces of trash here one year from now.  But instead of trying to figure out if that is an improvement or thinking of ways to bring an improvement, I found my mind wandering to a different topic… AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES.

Yes, autonomous vehicles, another one of those things that is just gonna happen.  These things will be outfitted with so many sensors and so much intelligence that not only will traffic accidents be a thing of the past, but they will be able to anticipate when you will fart and will engage preemptive countermeasures.

Since these vehicles are still in development, I have a request for the development teams.  I would like you smart gals and guys to include sensors which will detect when one of the passengers throws trash out the window.  Then there can be a variety of responses based on local laws and culture.

In Singapore, the windows will close, the doors will lock and the car will drive to the nearest police station.  That would not go over so well here in Switzerland.  The Swiss litter protocol could be 3 steps of escalation.

1st LITTER OFFENSE:  The car stops, turns around, and drives back to the place where the trash landed.  It waits there until the litterbug steps out and picks up the trash.  As soon as the litter and passenger are safely back in the vehicle, the journey continues.

2nd LITTER OFFENSE:  The same thing happens.  In addition, the car notifies the local police and a fine is issued.  All automatically, of course.

3rd LITTER OFFENSE:  All of the above happens.  In addition, the windows remain closed while the litterbug is present in the car.  Or maybe, the car will simply refuse to drive while this person is in it.

Punishment-only systems do not work so well.  So, let’s put some rewards in there as well.  The car could upload a current trash map.  LITTERATI, for example. Let’s say the passenger is running out of miles or credit for whatever.  She/he loads the map, drives to the nearest trashy point and cleans it up.  The vehicle’s sensors will know how much additional stuff is now in the car and will apply credits to the account of the passenger’s choice.  The passenger and the vehicle can negotiate over the value of the trash.  They can have fun with it.

Imagine 10’s of millions of cleanup cars out there.  Bring it on!

Swiss Cleanup, day 1: 14 SEPT 2018

“Trash-Alley” between Kadi & the top of the hill is no longer trashy!

Today is the first day of the Swiss Cleanup. I had planned to participate in the cleanup in Triesen, Liechtenstein, but could not find any info about it. So, I cleaned up a patch of Langenthal. I often walk this stretch of Thunstettenstrasse between Kadi and Schoren. To date, I never brought a big enough bag to make a dent in the trash on both sides of the road. This time, I did. Plus, I got behind the fence on the one side of the road. What a mess that was!

The haul:
Scratched up shins. (Döh! Wear long pants next time, idiot.)
60L bag full within 30 minutes. 25 cans. 20 of them energy drinks. You-know-who made the majority of them. 20+ PET bottles. 15 beer bottles. 10 tiny schnapps bottles. Lots of gooey cigarette boxes. Countless wrappers.

And a bicycle seat. A really nice one actually.

If you haven’t planned to already, it’s not too late!
Just look on the map here:

and show up at the cleanup nearest you. Or just grab a bag and go out for an hour. Every bit helps!#worldcleanup #igsu #letsdoitworld #worldcleanupday #langenthal

2675 days in review

This blog and the corresponding FB pages went live 2675 days ago. With only a handful of exceptions, I have pickup up trash every single day; and not just 1 piece per day. Some days, I brought a 17 L trash bag with me can could fill it in under 30 minutes. Then there were the official clean-up days, of course. So how many pieces of trash have I picked up since 14 MAY 2011? OMG. No idea. 100,000?

Step 1 of the 1-2 Sauber Schweiz was easy to accomplish. You just do it.

Step 2… well that was not so easy. Step 2 is “Whenever you see somebody throw trash on the ground, pick it up, hand it back to that person, and say, “Excuse me. You dropped something. I think this is yours.”

The goal was to change behavior. First to show which behavior is to be copied. Second, to point out which behavior is not wanted.

I have always had my eye open hoping to see a litterbug in action. However, in all this time, I have seen only ONE person throw trash on the ground! That poses the question, “WHO THROWS THE TRASH AROUND?!” I don’t have a car, so I am not insulated from my surroundings. I am always out and about on foot or on my bike. Back in 2011, I expected to see litterbugs several times per week. But, no. Only once in 2675 days.

Does anybody have any theories?
Do highly-trained trash-commandos go out at 3am and scatter the stuff?
Does the trash already out there have offspring?

Anyway, I have decided to stop the search. I will just stick with STEP 1: keep on cleaning up.

Please feel free to join me.