George Peters is sick of all the trash he sees around the city.
Whether it’s on the streets of his Hampden neighborhood, in the alleys of Oliver where he works with Come Home Baltimore or blowing around Druid Hill Park where he runs, Peters has had enough.
So he is developing the "Zero Litter" initiative to get city residents involved with cleaning up all the trash. So far Peters has secured the domain name for a website and started Twitter and Facebook accounts for Zero Litter.
"It can’t be a great city until people want to live here," Peters said. "Who wants to live in squalor and trash?"
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Peters is starting with those social media tools to make people aware of the problem, but he also has much bigger plans. Eventually he would like to have more support from the city government, and has formative ideas for a public awareness campaign that he would like to see spread citywide.
But first he would just like residents to start by picking up a piece of trash and throwing it away.
"It would certainly put a big dent [in the litter problem] if we had 600,000 sanitation employees picking up one piece a day," Peters said.
But Peters certainly isn’t Pollyannaish about what it will take to address the problem, and said he is aware that it will take a concerted effort to get some residents to stop just tossing their trash on the ground.
He said the Zero Litter mantra is something residents will have to become so inundated with that properly disposing of trash just becomes second nature.
"In a good way you become brain washed into it and you don’t think about it," he said.
Peters said that it’s going to take some big thinking from residents up to the city government to address the situation, and he has some big plans he thinks would work.
One idea is to create a citywide contest for cleaning neighborhoods with the prize being the winning neighborhood doesn’t have to pay property tax for the year.
Another involves developing a campaign of public service announcements with local celebrities using salty language to shock people into being aware of the issue.
"Lets as a city put our money our money where our mouth is,” Peters said.