Once there was "Trashball." Now, there's a new campaign to control trash in Baltimore. The theme: "It's Your Baltimore. Don't Trash It!"
Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke unveiled the new campaign yesterday, calling it an effort "to restore cleanliness to our streets, our neighborhoods, our shopping areas and our harbor."
The effort is being led by an advertising campaign developed by Innes & Willett Advertising, a local agency. The $189,000 campaign includes print spots featuring prominent Baltimore-area residents such as Art Donovan, Cal Ripken Jr. and Schmoke himself.
Over the next year, there also will be radio and television ads, accompanied by a jingle set to various types of music, including gospel and reggae.
The campaign is similar to Trashball, the anti-litter campaign led by then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer in the late 1970s. While that campaign was an unquestioned success, Schmoke said, another, broader effort is now needed.
"Somewhere along the line, people just forgot and didn't have the same intensity," he said.
The clean-up campaign will urge groups to organize "grass roots" cleanup efforts, discourage the dumping of items such as mattresses in alleys and publicize ways to properly dispose of trash.
But the anti-trash campaign "requires more than a clever ad campaign," Schmoke said. Accordingly, the contract with Innes & Willett also calls for the firm to hire two full-time coordinators who will work to foster citizen cooperation with the anti-trash efforts. In addition, the campaign will be seeking corporate donations and the support of schools and colleges.
While the campaign hopes to be broad based, it drew fire from Councilman Wilbur E. "Bill" Cunningham, D-3rd, who questioned the $189,000 expenditure which comes as the city is experiencing continued budget problems.
"It seems to me that we could be doing more for a smaller expense," Cunningham said. He added that city leaders, including the mayor and council members, could spread the word to community leaders and serve as "ambassadors" for the campaign.
He also said an anti-trash campaign should receive strong corporate support.
Schmoke mostly agreed. But he added that a general media effort was needed as well.
"The people we are trying to reach are the people who don't go to community meetings," Schmoke said.