A new viral trend urging netizens to go out and pick up trash is making the rounds on social media and other parts of the web.
Aptly named the "Trashtag Challenge," the internet craze is encouraging people to clean up litter-filled areas and post their before-and-after shots on social media with the hashtag #Trashtag.
Doing The Trashtag Challenge
The trend was first started by UCO in 2015, when the outdoor gear maker called on netizens to pick up at least 10,000 pieces of trash by October 2016.
In March, the movement found new life after people started going out and cleaning up their areas and sharing their efforts online. Some groups even devote their free time on weekends or during trips to pick up trash in their neighborhood.
There are now hundreds of social media posts showing people taking part in the challenge. Many photos show participants standing next to heaps of garbage they have collected. #Trashtag has taken over communities all over the world, from Norway to Nepal.
The Trashtag Challenge could not have come at a better time as more solid wastes are produced globally every day.
In 2016, the World Bank reported that as much as 2.01 billion tonnes (2.2 billion U.S. tons) of solid waste was generated by cities around the world. This translates to about 0.74 kilograms (1.6 pounds) of footprint per person daily.
If nothing is done to slow down garbage production, the World Bank said solid waste levels could increase by 70 percent by 2050. This is due to rapid population growth and urbanization of cities.
In Australia, environmental groups welcome the positive influence the Trashtag Challenge could have on people.
"Every day is a clean up day for us — and if social media is the best channel to encourage a generation to get down and dirty then we are more than happy to explore," a spokesperson for Clean Up Australia said.
"We think it's great to see people finding new ways to share their experience of where rubbish is accumulating and how they have been the change-maker who has done something about it."
Risks Of Viral Internet Challenges
The Trashtag Challenge offers a fresh new take on viral online challenges. Most internet crazes in the past involved youngsters engaging in questionable acts for the sake of getting attention on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
The Cinnamon Challenge had teenagers and adults alike filming themselves eating a spoonful of the aromatic spice in under 60 seconds without drinking water. The craze even had some celebrities doing it such as NBA players Nick Young and Javale McGee.
However, experts warn about the potential health risks of directly consuming cinnamon powder such as coughing, gagging, vomiting and even collapsed lungs.
Meanwhile, the Condom Challenge urged teens to fill prophylactics with water and dropping them on each other's heads. The actual point of the trend is still unknown, but youngsters have posted their videos doing it online.
There was also the Fire Challenge, where teenagers set body parts on fire as part of a dare. This viral craze left many kids with serious burns, including a 13-year-old girl in Detroit.
40 Norwegian Folk High School students from Alta spent one-week picking trash at a local beach, gathering a total of 12,400kg! We can't help but love the fact this is catching on globally! #trashtag #trashtagchallenge #norway pic.twitter.com/hezXhGvHaQ — trashtagchallenge (@trashtag2019) March 11, 2019
Along the Potomac River south of Washington, DC #trashtag pic.twitter.com/n2uPL52LZG — Robbie McNeil (@RMcNeil2105) March 10, 2019