Plastic waste has met its match with the viral #Trashtag challenge

people cleaning up pollution in a forest

It is rare when a social media trend actually results in a
physical change to the environment, especially when it comes to
picking up plastic waste. But a
new viral challenge has thousands of people from around the world
coming together to clean up places that have become overrun with

The new challenge, #trashtag, encourages people to clean up
litter and share photos from before and after the clean-up job is
over. So far, tens of thousands of individuals have participated in
the social
challenge. These participants have cleaned up roads,
parks, beaches and wilderness areas. The challenge has also
increased awareness of important environmental issues, like how
much plastic waste ends up in the trash.

Related: China closes Mount Everest base camp after overwhelming
trash problem reports

While the challenge only recently went viral, it actually
started a few years ago. A company called UCO Gear came up with the
idea in 2015 to help with its wilderness protection program. The
challenge did not catch on until this year, after a post on
Facebook tagged
“tired teens” in the photo. Since then, there have been well
over 25,000 posts with #trashtag tagged, although it has a few
other variations, such as #trashchallenge and

Although it is great to see people cleaning up the environment
in their free time, conservationists hope it will eventually lead
to bigger changes. According to BBC, the director of
Canada’s Ecology Action Centre (EAC), Mark Butler, hopes the
hashtag gets people to understand why we need to eliminate single-use plastics

“Getting plastic out of the environment is important,”
Butler shared. “We need to do more than go behind the people that
are littering and clean it up. We need to turn off the plastic

Butler argued that if we do not start curbing our plastic use, then the
clean-up job will never end. Given all of the photos we’ve seen
from the trash challenge, Butler has a point. Hopefully, viral
challenges like #trashtag will help initiate more lasting changes
as we continue to deal with the problem of plastic pollution.


Image via Pacific
Southwest Region 5

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News 2
Plastic waste has met its match with the viral #Trashtag challenge