City Beach Cleanup

Our group project is city/beach cleanup.

Our members include Ben, Kevin, and Justin

1. Summary

The goal of our project is to cleanup the streets and the beaches of Barcelona. Barcelona is a city, and generally cities are dirty so we thought that cleaning up the city would benefit humans and the environment. For our project we wanted to do an action that would directly benefit Barcelona. Our group's original goal was to do a beach cleanup on one of Barcelona's famous beaches. This then evolved into more of a city cleanup when we came to the realization that we could make a larger impact and create a more sustainable project. So a simple idea translated into an even more simplistic yet effective model of our group going into the city every other week- once a week for an hour to pick up trash around the different city districts. This of course was not implemented at the very beginning of the semester, allowing us only to pick up trash in about half or the barrios. This is one area that could be improved in our action in the way that if the group is designated at the beginning of the semester all areas of the city can be effectively hit by the end of the semester.

cleanup, beach, garbage, trash, beach

2. What Is The Action.

Our action consisits of cleaning the city's districts by simply picking up trash to reduce the amount of litter in the streets.

2.1. Similar Actions From Prevous Semesters

There was a similar action in previous semesters involving a beach clean up, yet did not extend its reach to the rest of the city.

2.2. Why This Or A Similar Action Didn't Succeed In Previous Semesters

They did not succeed because there was no information to organize such trips. We provide the specific places for future students to clean. Previous actions also do not have any instructor to let them know about such an opportunity.

2.3. SWOT Analysis


  • Cleaner communities with overall cleaner city
  • Student exploration, building familiarity among city
  • Student bonding over a positive cause
  • Could possibly result in students not actually cleaning the city
  • Only involving students from IES
  • Partnering up with global/local program or business (i.e. Lets clean up Europe, UNEP)
  • Expansion to reach more people in the city
  • Bigger ways of advertising the organized clean ups
  • Possibility of students not participating
  • Other oppurtunities and trips that distract students from this activity

2.4. Advertising

The actions advertising comes in physical form as fliers that can be posted within the IES building. This is something that should be implememnted next time around with dates and descriptions of what the action is and when it will occur. For example the 1st and third Tuesday or every month as well as where to meet.

3. Why this action makes things more sustainable?

Human sustainable development on earth is defined as,'“sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." First of all, this action makes Barcelona more sustainable directly by cleaning up trash and garbage around the city. Walking around any city, one may find trash littered around everywhere. This trash can range from cigarette butts to pieces of computers. What our group did was several cleanups that helped make Barcelona cleaner. For something to be truly sustainable is very difficult so our group wanted to make a direct impact on the city while abroad with hopes of future generations and classes with the same goal. We were also hoping on the butterfly effect to occur so that other people in the city would pick up trash or not litter. For instance when we were walking around the Barcelona picking up trash with large trash bags several people saw us doing this. We were hoping that we could inspire other people to do the same resulting in a cleaner city. Our action not only benefits humans but it also benefits other organisms that live in and around Barcelona. By us picking up trash, it eliminates the possibility of animals to come into contact with this trash.

3.1. Potential Costs

Our potential costs are not very high at all. Since our action is picking up trash a potential cost would be trash bags. The money for the trash bags would have to come from out of the pocket expenses. Although trash bags are a potential cost, those that also participate in this action could also simply throw the trash out in nearby trash bins for free. Another potential cost is a metro ticket for quick access to places around the city that are far away. Like the trash bags, this money would come from out of the pocket. This potential cost could also be eliminated if those involved in this action walked to the different neighborhoods they were going to instead of taking the metro.

4. How will you implement it

Every other week starting in late September to now (early December), we have done a session of either cleaning up the city or the beaches of Barcelona. In the beginning of the semester we focused on cleaning the beach but we expanded our expectations and started to clean up different neighborhoods in Barcelona. For example we have gone to the Borne District,
the Gothic District, Gracia, and Eixample. With our last week and a half in Barcelona we plan on doing one more city cleanup. After we leave we hope that future classes of sustainability in IES will continue our action. In addition, we have developed the following proposal for Profesor Xavier de Pedro for future sustainability classes.

4.1. Proposal Document for City/Beach Cleanup

Professor Xavier de Pedro
Sustainability: Challenges and Responses

We propose that you designate one to three students in every following semester to be on clean up duty, in which they clean and explore a different area of Barcelona every other week. The students would spend one hour or more picking up street garbage in various neighborhoods and log their hours in an excel sheet we provide. Outcomes of this project are not only for the students to pick up garbage and positively influence their environment but to increase student bonding and exploration of the city in which they are living. Fostering this project every semester would promote the sustainable vision for our group project.

We suggest the following areas:
The Borne District
The Gothic District

Incentive: As a reward for completing such a task, we suggest that you drop their lowest quiz grade at the end of the term.

4.2. "Cradle to Cradle" design

Since our project is an action rather than a product it's difficult to apply the Cradle to Cradle design as offered by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Rather we are cleaning up this trash that doesn't necessarly apply to the Cradle to Cradle concept. Throughout this semester we have picked up different types of trash such as normal garbage, recyclables, and compost. When we have found compostable matter we have put this matter in the compost bins located around the city. When we are doing this, we return the compostable matter back to the biosphere. Unfortunately, most of the trash that we pick up resembles cradle to grave objects.

4.3. Flyers?

Flyers were an idea that we were not able to implement but would be very helpful to do so for future semesters. They could detail times, locations, and where to meet.

4.4. Incentives

We believe that cleaning up trash and walking around different parts of Barcelona with fellow peers is a valid incentive as it usually makes one feel good and develops friendship. We also understand that this type of incentive would not work for everyone so we have developed another type of incentive. In our 'How you will implement it' section we have details on a different incentive. This incentive would be that the lowest quiz grade of the semester is dropped for students that participate in this action.

4.5. Relationship with the other initiatives being implemented

The two other initiatives being implemented are very different than our action so it would be difficult to correspond our projects. However those that participate in the other two projects could also participate in our project.

4.6. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?

This action will be sustained by the professor designating certain students at the beginning of the semester to carry out the action.

4.7. Comparison to similar actions form previous semesters

As far as our knowledge there hasn't been actions from previous semesters that is similar to our city and beach cleanup action. The most similar action that we found was from 2011. The action was a day of service in Barcelona. Our action is similar to the day of service because they are both hands on activities.

5. Chronogram

5.1. What has been done this semester?

This semester our group has gone to many of the different barrios around the city to spend around an hour to two hours picking up trash in these areas.

5.2. What needs to be done to repeat the action in the future?

Students must be willing to make Barcelona a cleaner and more sustainable city as well as the professor must continually designate students each semester.

6. Annexes

6.1. Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge anyone who picks up trash and throws it out when they see it. We would also like to acknowledge Profesor Xavier de Pedro and anyone else who may be involved in this project in the future.

6.2. Students involved in this action

Kevin O'Connor, Ben Laderberg, and Justin Andrews

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Page last modified on Saturday 02 of January, 2016 01:13:27