A couple of years ago I had a very nice apartment with a big balcony overlooking the Suzhou creek in Shanghai. Even though the Suzhou creek was not as nice then as it is now (but also not as dirty as 10 years ago), I really enjoyed sitting on my balcony watching the boats pass by while drinking a glass of wine or beer. The only bad thing was that my balcony was about twice as big as the balcony of the 20 stories of apartments above mine. Why was that bad? Because several of my upstairs neighbors had the habit of throwing things down from their balcony. No complete trash bins of course, but things like cigarette butts, chewing gum and the occasional newspaper. Annoying, but there was no way of knowing who did it so I could not do something about it.
Fast forward to today. I am now living at the top floor of another apartment building, so nobody can throw trash on my balcony. However, people below me still seem to do so, because this week a notice appeared in our building that warns people not to throw trash off their balcony. The notice says that over the past months the compound management noticed more and more trash on the ground. To prove it, they put some huge pictures of cigarette butts that were found on the ground. In order to stop the littering, the management warns the occupants of the building that they have now installed cameras, in order to catch the wrongdoers. A bit overdone, but at least they try to stop it.
But the thing that really caught my eye is the punishment in case they catch you: public shaming! The notice said that they will inform all the residents that you are the one who is responsible for the littering. Not sure how they plan to do that, I assume just by posting your name and the number of your apartment next to the elevator (where the notices are now as well), but I would not be surprised if they would even put your picture there. I look forward to seeing the offenders there 🙂 And one more thing: To make sure people don’t feel offended or want to save face, the notice ends with “make sure you inform your maids about this” – as if they would be smoking on the balconies!