#MicroPark is the idea of turning unused, underused or misused spots of land in urban or suburban areas into small, inexpensive and very low maintenance parks for people to enjoy. The concept came about as an idea to help combat fly-tipping, and here's how it works.
We are faced with constant and ever increasing municipal problems due to fly tipping / illegal waste dumping, as well as persistent littering. The problems not only affect municipal waste management but gradually all tiers of local (and national) quality of life. The upstream solution is in theory very simple: reduce or eliminate waste material flow by reducing, replacing or eliminating excessive packaging.
Until such practices are broadly implemented by manufacturers, the tangible waste problem lands squarely on municipal streets. This suggestion focuses mostly on the waste management side, although a short term benefit will be raised environmental awareness.
Why my concern with visible waste dumping? I think the disrespect and disregard for our shared environment is also a symptom of larger social ills: littering begins a vicious cycle once it becomes accepted - if a site is already dirty or badly treated, what is the harm in throwing more garbage there? I believe this proposal presents an actionable outline for any municipality that has the desire to improve quality of life, regardless of material resources.
In order to encourage better social habits, I propose the creation of small, low cost micro parks that can be created and maintained using voluntary labour or unemployed locals, under the management or with the approval of the municipal services.
The idea is to create on the sites of habitual fly tipping / illegal dumping, a small green area - a micro park - composed of inexpensive materials such as gravel, pine bark, a bench, shrubs or aromatic herbs for example - with very low cost of implementation and maintenance, to discourage the dumping of waste and at the same time occupy these spaces with a small oasis that will enhance the quality of social and environmental life.
In practical terms this is an opportunity to employ volunteers and unemployed in terms of manpower, as well as an opportunity for branded corporate sponsorship from local hardware stores in regards to the materials for the construction of such micro parks.
On other hand, in order strengthen the deterrent against illegal dumping and reduce the recurrence of habitual offenders, low cost, remote automatic video capture (such as motion activated wildlife cameras) can be employed. Otherwise it is almost impossible to detect and punish offenders.
Finally, an initiative like this would have to be supported by local education campaigns in schools, public spaces and media (TV, radio, newspapers, social media).
If converting habitual fly tipping and litter dumping sore spots into low cost and near zero maintenance urban gardens sounds so crazy it might just work, why not get involved? Here's an idea to improve the municipal environment, public health and quality life at very low cost.