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Online sleuths root out forest litterers

After being caught on social media, family hurries back to site of outdoor birthday party to clean up abandoned trash

Ben Shemen Forest. (Flickr/StateofIsrael/CC BY-SA 2.0)
Ben Shemen Forest. (Flickr/StateofIsrael/CC BY-SA 2.0)

An Israeli social media campaign convinced one family to return to the scene of their crime and right the wrong.

A recent birthday party for a young girl in the Ben Shemen forest, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, ended in piles of abandoned trash, after family and friends left the scene without bothering to clean up, the daily Yediot Ahronoth reported Sunday.

They even left a giant “Happy birthday!” sign hanging between two trees.

Bicyclist Raviv Lev Ari, 48, came upon the scene as he biked with friends through the forest on Friday morning. He was so angry, he recalled, that he decided to return to the site after finishing his ride.

“We thought maybe the party-goers would return to collect the trash,” he said. “But instead of party-goers, we found Jewish National Fund workers who arrived to clean the garbage left the behind. That upset us a lot. We’re used to Israelis leaving garbage, but this time the sheer amount was too much.”

Lev Ari uploaded a photo of the trash-strewn picnic area to Facebook, and the response on Israeli social networks was swift and decisive. Users began searching Instagram and other networks for photos from the party, and soon identified the offenders.

Facing exposure and public shame, the family apologized on social media, hurried back to the scene and cleaned up the site, the report said.

“I hope they learned their lesson,” said Lev Ari. “Nature is a home for me and my friends. The garbage and food that are left behind don’t just pollute the landscape; they endanger animals.”

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