Using DNA Testing to Put a Face to Litterbugs

Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong has launched a city-wide campaign for the Hong Kong CleanUp Initiative. The campaign, entitled ‘The Face of Litter’, has launched in conjunction with Global Earth Day, and it’s awesome.
With a staggering sixteen thousand tons of waste dumped in Hong Kong every day, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the extent of littering across the city, pinpoint those responsible and encourage people to change their behaviour.
Turning to science for answers, Ogilvy has targeted key locations in Hong Kong to collect, analyse and create DNA-based composites of the perpetrators litter.
By combining the expertise of US-based research centres and advanced Snapshot™ DNA phenotyping provided by Parabon NanoLabs, data has been used to create a visual representation of the person who has littered. Because age is impossible to determine through DNA alone, but still integral in creating an accurate portrait, DNA data has been combined with other factors, such as demographics based on the type of litter and where it was collected to determine the approximate age of the litterer.

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