Grainchen – The city is looking for “trash patrons” for public places


The city is looking for “trash patrons” for public spaces

The city of Grenchen introduces a new measure against littering: From now on, astronauts must make sure parks, streets, playgrounds and hiking paths are clean.

The first “space godfathers” in Greenland City Park.

Photo: Andreas Togoiler

To this end, the city of Grenchen is looking for, among other things, clubs, classrooms, and individuals who wish to volunteer for a cleaner environment.

“Throwing out litter disturbs and damages the environment. “It can infect animals and people, too,” said Angela Kummer, who agreed, for example, to regularly check the playground at the city park. The head of the Socialist Party was with Xenia Heidegger (co-chair of the Green Party) the initiator of the action.

The so-called godparents of a room are responsible for a specific area and they remove it regularly. “It could be along a neighborhood street, at a train station, in a public green space or just at a bus stop,” Kummer explains.

Work yard employees assured that things could look really bad along the busy streets, for example. They put up the first sign in the city park to draw attention to the fact that volunteers are collecting trash here. These councils will be set up in various locations in the city, where volunteers will take part in the work. The workshop also provides tools (such as a clutch) on loan on request.

It is not just the city of Greenchen and its residents benefiting from a clean environment. Schoolchildren are learning, for example, to deal with waste correctly, clubs can use space sponsorship to build a team, and people with an environmental interest can connect with like-minded people, ”says Sandra Maric, urban planning writer and Energy City coordinator.

Space sponsorship projects are already being implemented by many Swiss cities and municipalities. School classes collect garbage on the way to school, football clubs maintain the sports facility, or residents clean street sections or around public barbecue areas.

This procedure is inexpensive, reduces cleaning service, and significantly reduces littering. “Room stewardship is a continuation of our commitment against littering, which we launched with our annual Cleaning Day in September,” says Xenia Heidegger and Angela Kummer.

Room patrons are required

In order to cover as many areas as possible, Grenchen is looking for people, groups, and organizations who want to sponsor a space. Everyone can volunteer as space sponsors, for example retailers, politicians, clubs, classrooms, asylum seekers, families and individuals. With regular cleaning rounds, they ensure their area is free of litter.

An effective measure to combat littering

The fact that space sponsorship projects work against garbage dumping was demonstrated in a two-part study by IGCE Clean Environment (IGSU) and ETH Zurich, which was implemented in 2015 and 2016 on behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) on the topic of space stewardship. Regular maintenance makes spaces tidier and cleaner, which increases the limit of littering around. This is why IGSU supports cities and municipalities in implementing their space sponsorship projects.

Volunteers can’t do much about the huge landfills that accumulate nearly every week in the large apartment complexes of Grenchen (for example on Freiestrasse). This problem comes from the fact that the property managers have rescued their on-site caretakers, who were present earlier and made sure everything was going well, they say.

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