Neat Program Targets Neat Neighbors

The Los Angeles city and county public works departments are working together on an interesting advertising campaign designed to educate the countys nearly 10 million residents about simple steps they can take to reduce stormwater pollution and area flooding.

The Los Angeles city and county public works departments are working together on an interesting advertising campaign designed to educate the countys nearly 10 million residents about simple steps they can take to reduce stormwater pollution and area flooding.

The important topic of reducing stormwater pollution is the focus of the Environmental Protection Agencys guidelines for cleaning up beaches and waterways. The countys ongoing public-education campaign is one of several ways it is addressing the EPA guidelines, which were announced earlier this year.

Los Angeles County used psychographic research to select target audiences and strategies for the educational campaign. Psychographics segments an audience based on attitudes and behaviors similar to how demographics would segment the population based on ethnic background and gender.

LA conducted a survey of residents, asking questions about awareness, behavior and attitudes related to certain types of pollution; lifestyle characteristics; and media habits. This process identified groups that are some of the greatest polluters in the county, and who also are most likely to respond to a public-education campaign. They include:

  • Neat Neighbors - 50 percent of population - Middle class, suburban families that take pride in their neighborhood and derive a sense of accomplishment from do-it-yourself projects around the house. Avid recyclers and environmentally conscious, they are very concerned about social issues, especially those affecting their children.

  • Fix It Foul-ups - 13 percent of population - Predominantly male, middle-aged and middle class, they enjoy do-it-yourself activities around the house, work on the family cars and take pride in their yard.

  • Concerned Non-Contributors - 20 percent of population - Likely to be older and female, they are very concerned about the environment. While they do not contribute significantly to pollution, they are willing to be role models for prevention actions.

  • Rubbish Rebels - 9 percent of population - Predominantly young Generation Xers, this group tends to be self-absorbed, live with their parents and have no neighborhood pride. However, they enjoy outdoor sports and are likely to be motivated with messages that include keeping the ocean and area waterways safe for swimming and recreation.

Some of the simple actions the campaign will encourage residents to undertake include: Not littering streets, sidewalks and parking lots; picking up animal waste and placing it in a waste container; and appropriately using fertilizer and pesticides.

Stormwater pollution is a significant problem in Los Angeles. The County of Los Angeles Department of Beaches and Harbors spent $1.3 million cleaning beaches after storms between July 1, 1997, and June 30, 1998. The net spanning Ballona Creek in LA County from September 1997 through May 1998 captured more than 61 tons of trash and debris - this from 30.4 inches of rain.

Combined efforts by the city of Long Beach and the Department of Beaches and Harbors hauled off 10,857 tons of beach trash carried from storm-drain channels after rains. This tonnage of trash equals 1.2 million cubic feet or 3,553 miles of debris and litter, and could stretch the length of Californias coastline. The campaign will run through May 1999 and consist of radio, print and outdoor advertising targeting both the general market and the areas Hispanic population.

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