Sam, the border collie, your friendly neighbourhood superhero, is unlike any other caped crusader. For starters, he is a dog, which makes him heads and tails over humans bitten by radioactive spiders (or those gifted hammers by gods). Sam’s superpower is collecting waste to keep the parks pristine as they are meant to be and, in the process, inspire others.
Sam lives in Santiago, Chile and works earnestly to keep the city’s largest park clean and green. Sam and his human, Gonzalo Chiang, take regular walks in Santiago’s urban park and pick up plastic bottles, masks, cans, and food boxes.
Gonzalo and Sam were spotting a lot of garbage during their walks in Santiago metropolitan park and decided to do something about it. They envisioned each walk as an opportunity to clean the park.
Hero Dog in Chile helps fight garbage
In April 2022, Sam and Gonzalo collected 602 masks, 585 bottles and 304 cans. And that wasn’t all – they also found food wrappers, discarded clothing items, and even helmets.
Sam, now a major tourist attraction, visits the park at least thrice a week. He impressed park officials who decided to use his image in its park care campaign. Artist Catalina Aravena turned Sam into a cartoon for an educational guide. “Sam: The Parquemet Superhero,” a green cape-wearing border collie, encourages visitors to take their garbage with them or use one of the more than 40 recycling stations throughout the park, and it has been widely shared on social media.
“This became much more widespread than expected, it reached different schools and it has been spread very well on social media.”~Catalina Aravena
The park launched anti-litter campaigns last year, urging vendors to switch from plastic to glass cups and started classifying garbage into separate bins. This has been successful in reducing litter and spreading awareness of the issue.
Recycle → Reuse → Reduce
Park officials launched anti-littering campaigns last year. They urged food and drink sellers within the park to use glass containers instead of plastic and to sort garbage into separate containers.
Eduardo Villalobos, the acting director of the park, has been inspired by the fantastic work of Sam and Gonzalo to accelerate the education process and structure garbage classification.
See Also: Tubby is said to be the world’s greenest dog after entering into the Guinness Book of Records for sniffing out 26,000 plastic bottles and carrying them to his human (Sandra Gilmore) for recycling.
Covid, climate crisis and now Monkeypox, have had humans held up in a nervous wreck — it is in stories like that of Sam where we must draw hope. Parks are pummeled badly by plastics and saving the environment can’t be left to the Paris agreement and Greta Thunberg alone.