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Children from Halssila Kindergarten took part in the challenge , Source: City of Jyväskylä

Clean Benches Challenge: Jyväskylä encourages residents to help clear the snow

Clean Benches Challenge: Jyväskylä encourages residents to help clear the snow

Participants will receive prizes from the municipality in 2022

During this time of the year, many countries experience heavy snowfall that completely covers surfaces and obstructs pathways. It follows then that although municipalities and city maintenance workers clean most areas, citizens still have to help clear away the snow. Understanding that few people volunteer to do so, the Finnish City of Jyväskylä has found a way to motivate its residents.

Clean Benches Challenge

On 14 December, the municipality announced that it has launched the Clean Benches Challenge. With this initiative, it invites all residents – regardless of age – to remove the snow from the benches in their neighbourhoods. Commenting on the idea behind the challenge, Project Coordinator Sinikka Tyynelä explained:

“The desire to clean the benches has come from the residents. We conducted a survey related to seniors and their environment, and many said they longed for a place to rest during their walks in the winter. Of course, snow-free benches benefit people of all ages.”

It is important to reiterate that while city maintenance workers regularly clean benches, they cannot ensure the cleanliness of all of them. What is more, those that are already cleaned do not remain snowless for too long when there is heavy or continuous snowfall.

Grab a shovel then post a picture

To participate in the challenge, residents must find a snow-covered bench and clean it using a metal or plastic shovel. Addressing this, the municipality warns participants to be careful when using a metal shovel as it can damage the surface of benches by, for example, scratching off their paint. While removing the snow, one must also ensure that they clean not only the bench itself but also its surrounding areas (half a metre in front of it and to its sides).

To record their participation in the challenge, one should take a photograph of the bench they have cleaned and upload it on social media using the hashtags #penkitpuhtaaksihaaste (Clean Benches Challenge), #yhteinenympäristö (Common Environment) and #naapuriapu (Neighbourhood Aid).

The municipality will then award participants with prizes in the spring of 2022.    

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