The Social Costs of Graffiti and Its Removal

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Graffiti is writing on the wall that’s usually unwelcome. This offence is punishable by fine and imprisonment under the Graffiti Control Act (2008) of NSW. According to Graffiti Removal Day org, this act of vandalism costs the NSW government around $ 300 mn per annum! If you are a victim, finding high pressure cleaning in Sydney at reasonable rates might be your priority.   

Effects of Graffiti:

Graffiti is generally viewed as a nuisance, with several local governments coming down harshly upon it. However, there are certain benefits of graffiti – such as boosting the creative economy – which has egged some Sydney councils to take a more nuanced approach to it. Northern Beaches and Liverpool City councils have legal-wall networks to promote legal graffiti work. Blacktown Council has an enhanced youth graffiti literacy programme, a laneways art programme, and even conducts graffiti exhibitions.

Notwithstanding the same, illegal graffiti leads to some negative consequences, as discussed below:

1. Property Damage:

Graffiti can deface walls and pavements and can disrupt the visual harmony of the locality. Profane graffiti can be an outright eyesore, especially in school areas where children of inappropriate age can get influenced by it. Individuals and governments spend thousands of dollars on its removal by using high pressure cleaning in Sydney. For instance, in Byron Bay, a group of 3 young vandals are suspected of having cost the city more than $10,000 in removal. One can argue that valuable taxpayers’ money can be put to much better use. 

2. Perceived Danger:

According to a survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 21% of the NSW respondents felt that graffiti is an indicator of higher crime levels in the locality. Graffiti-d public surfaces (such as walls, fences, and trains) can be seen as a sign of a lax attitude by the local police towards crime, and hence, can invite more vicious criminals.    

3. Dangerous activity:

A report by a parliamentary committee of the NSW government showed that at least 9 people died over 18 months while they were writing graffiti. While some were struck by trains, others toppled over while leaning out of trains to paint on the train walls. 

Further, graffiti on tunnels and bridges can obstruct a driver’s view of oncoming traffic and can lead to accidents. 

4. Chemical poisoning:

The spray paint used for graffiti writing contains Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The mildest of them can irritate the eyes, nose and throat. The more noxious ones can lead to dizziness, loss of coordination, and depression. The high-risk VOCs can cause dermatitis, muscle fatigue, and kidney damage.

Additionally, if graffiti is not properly cleaned, the paint can leach into the surrounding environment. It can contaminate stormwater drains, and ultimately the sea. An incident in Adelaide’s Hallett Cove, where vandals drew graffiti on an ecologically sensitive cliff-front, is an example of the kind of environmental damage graffiti can cause. The paint will seep into the sea and disrupt its chemical balance, thus affecting marine life.

In summary

Graffiti consists of different forms of writing and drawing – such as murals, humourous scribbling on walls and hoardings, racist slurs, and political statements.  Illegally drawn murals and writings on walls (known as tagging) are the most prevalent type of graffiti. 

If done in sensitive areas – such as schools, private walls, and even war memorials, it can cause great aesthetic and psychological damage. To remove it entirely, you must consult experts in high-pressure cleaning in Sydney. Additional measures such as coating your wall with anti-graffiti paint and installing security cameras in the area can help you deter vandalism. Ultimately, however, It is a social problem that can be tackled by resorting to social solutions. 


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