Sunday, March 22, 2009
Yet another social marketing campaign was launched this month by the city of Paris in what seems like yet another valiant-but-likely-to-be-ineffective effort to get Parisians to literally clean up their act. The campaign seeks to instill in the city's residents the notion that clean streets are a collective responsibility and that littering hurts the environment.
It's a nice message but I have my doubts. After the RATP's recent campaign in a similar vein, not much seems to have changed. In fact, when I got on the métro the other evening around 9:30, the car was strewn with newspapers, cookie boxes, and all manner of detritus of the urban environment, including a discarded sweatshirt. And then there were the two fellows I followed out of the grocery store earlier this week. They had just bought a box of ice cream cones and by the time I got out to the sidewalk, they'd left a trail of paper behind them like Hansel and Gretel. (I told my French teacher this and she said, "didn't you say something?" I was thinking, "are you kidding?!")
To be fair, the city's new campaign is explicit about the steep fines for littering or failure to pick up after a dog: 183 euros. And yet, I've neither seen nor heard of anyone getting such a fine. So thanks a lot to the boys down at the Hôtel de Ville. I'll keep my fingers crossed but I'm certainly not holding my breath.