Hong Kong Is Using DNA Analysis to Publicly Shame Litterbugs

Source: Creator’s Project

Litterbugs beware: the DNA evidence you leave behind is now your new worst enemy. An environmental campaign called The Face of Litter is attacking Hong Kong’s trash epidemic with some old fashioned public shame, taking DNA evidence left behind on old garbage to recreate digital portraits of litterers. We’ve seen this kind of technology in action before, when Heather Dewey-Hagborg used DNA phenotyping—which lets artists make an educated guess about what a face might look like—to create 3D-printed face masks from the DNA left behind on discarded cigarette butts and pieces of chewing gum in 2013’s Stranger Visions. In this case, the digital results are being used to combat a major urban problem, with plans to post them on transit ads, social media, and print publications all throughout Hong Kong.

Launched today in partnership with Hong Kong CleanupEcozine, The Nature Conservancy, and Ogilvy, The Face of Litter celebrates both Earth Day and HKC’s 15th anniversary with a novel new approach to waste management: trashing those who trash the planet.


After years of research and a series of unpleasant experiences concerning the current child protection services system, Alec Cope decided to combat the cancerous corruption through information. Freelance writing articles as a form of protest and distributing them throughout his former high-school and local area, Alec struck special chords with whomever he was in contact with.

Alec has been involved in activism such as sit down protests as well as Idle No More gatherings. Being independent for the majority of his time, Alec became a member of the WeAreChange family to assist one of the organizations that inspired him to become active in the first place. With a larger platform and positive support Alec has committed the majority of his time to research, writing, and maintaining social media with the goal to continue expanding the awakening sweeping throughout all levels of society.

Growing up within a rural area in Northern Michigan as well as being a native American descendant, Alec is seeking to expose environmental abuse in his state as well as globally. A high-school dropout, Alec chases his passion for writing and empowering individuals while showing any isolated person that they too can overcome the odds with a community that will support them. Alec lives in the lower peninsula of Michigan near Kalamazoo.





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