There’s a new viral challenge on social media, and this one is inspiring people all over the world to de-litter the green spaces in their communities.
It all started this past weekend in Reddit community r/wholesomememes, and now social media is littered with before-and-after photos of parks and other public spaces that were in desperate need of cleanup. Pun intended.
Redditor u/Baxxo25 shared this image on Saturday, a meme challenging bored teens to take a photo of a place in need of cleaning or maintenance and post it next to another photo of the same place after cleaning it up.
How People Are Putting #TrashTag Into Action
The challenge quickly caught on and became wildly popular. People all over the world have already cleaned up hundreds of tons of litter and garbage in their local parks, beaches, lakes, rivers, roadsides, and beyond.
After some amusing brainstorming, the viral cleanup effort was lovingly dubbed #TrashTag by the online community. Now, social media accounts across the Internet are sharing photos of their own cleanups thanks to #TrashTag.
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This group cleaned over 1,100 pounds of trash from their river.
44 volunteers ended up removing 502kg of waste from the Sungai Gombak river! We need to keep the Trashtag alive! from r/HumansBeingBros
While these Scouts all the way over in Kerala got out and cleaned up their roadsides.
The Birth of a New Hashtag Movement
#TrashTag isn’t brand new, though. The outdoor gear company UCO Gear started the hashtag in 2015 as a marketing campaign, but it didn’t gain such significant popularity until a few days ago. When Byron Román posted the image shown above on Facebook, he consequently reignited the challenge like never before as he put out the call to his peers to get outside and clean up their public spaces.
Unlike the recent challenges to scarf down Tide Pods or cinnamon, this one is focused on bringing more attention to the environmentalist movement. Ironically, #TrashTag leverages the so-called narcissistic Instagram culture of the millennial generation to get people to go out and help clean up their communities.
It’s working like a charm, though. Thousands of groups and individuals have gone outdoors to help clear rubbish and litter, generating tons of photos along with hundreds of thousands of likes, shares, comments, and mentions across social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and Twitter, bringing a welcome change.
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Even Miss Hoosier Heartland is getting in on the #TrashTag action.
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Being this close to the beautiful ocean and seeing so much trash hurts my soul 👎🏻 When you see garbage on the beach, you know its next stop is the sea. Ways you can avoid harming the ocean: 1. Make sure every piece of trash you have ends up in the right place (the garbage or recycle bin) 🗑 2. Pick up any litter you see on the beach. Don't just walk past it, even if it isn't yours! Every piece of garbage YOU encounter makes a difference, just as it does to every fish or bird who encounters it if it hits the ocean 🐟 If you are headed somewhere tropical for spring break, I challenge you to pick up at least 3 pieces of trash (see @take3forthesea for motivation) to give our oceans some love 🌊 #everydayisearthday #trashtag #missindiana19
Does the #TrashTag Challenge Even Do Any Good?
It probably shouldn’t have taken the appeal of gaining fake Internet points to get people interested in going out to clean up their communities and help the environment.
Pollution is a huge problem worldwide, with the illegal dumping leading to rodent and insect infestations, as well as contamination of the air, water, and food supply in our communities. But, here we are.
Although, many people challenge that pessimistic outlook by arguing that the real problem here isn’t the pollution itself so much as it is the apathetic attitude toward our environment. The #TrashTag challenge aims to change that, bringing the plight of our local environments to the fore.
This beach in India covered in garbage was transformed by those who felt it was time to do something.
Team LoadUp Supports the #TrashTag Challenge
Some environmentalists have expressed concern over the fact that with so many people trying to become Instagram famous, they often ruin the natural landscape trying to get the perfect outdoorsy shot, along with our understanding of just how bad the pollution is in our own green spaces and across the globe.
And you have to admit, in the same vein as the #metoo movement and the Ice Bucket Challenge, #TrashTag has been one of those very few social media challenge trends that have proven effective at getting people to take action on a major issue.
As a result, we’ve seen hundreds of tons of garbage cleaned up in open spaces all over the world, and that’s an amazing feat. Even if it is only for likes and updoots.
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