The #Trashtag challenge is a recent trend that has gone viral online. However unlike most social media trendss on the internet, the trashtag challenge is neither dangerous nor stupid (see bird box challenge). The trend was started by a Reddit user who challenged bored teenagers to clear up their local community areas. The steps to the challenge are pretty simple; find a community area that is scattered with trash, take a picture of it, clean it up and put the trash in bags, take a picture of the place after you have cleaned it, post the two pictures side by side on your social media.
The trashtag challenge originally started in 2015. It gained popularity recently again, after a Facebook user Byron Román posted about it again. Over the past week the challenge has gone viral, with people from all over the world participating in it. Recently I even saw people in Bangladesh participate in it. People have cleaned up beaches, parks, forests, and all types of local areas. On Twitter, Instagram and Facebook the hashtag has been used hundreds of thousands of time and the number of people participating in this trend seems to be increasing every day.
Trash vs trashtag challenge
There is something that is present all around us. From the peaks of mount Everest to the waters of the Pacific ocean, something that is unavoidable and constantly increasing. That thing is trash. Unfortunately due to our current consumption trends and the presence of plastic and non-biodegradable materials , trash such as this is all over the place and ever increasing. There are many alternatives for plastic bags like biodegradable plastic bags.
What makes this even worse is the fact that people seem to care very little about disposing these items properly and just end up littering anywhere and everywhere. This is very evident especially in Bangladesh. Streets filled with trash, garbage cans rarely used, littering seems to be the norm. For the few concerned about this phenomenon tackling this seems to be a herculean task and an issue that won’t be solved anytime soon. For those worried about this problem, I present to you the #trashtag challenge.
Plastic Is Everywhere
The world generates about 3.5 million tons of plastic and other solids waste a day, according to the World Bank. The challenge could not have come at a more opportune time, if you ask me; it should have actually come sooner. Waste management is a global problem, especially when it comes to plastic. Very few countries are able to deal with the problem appropriately. Due to this their ecosystem is suffering, specially developing countries.
Recently a whale was found dead with 40 kgs of plastic waste inside of him. And this is unfortunately not an uncommon phenomenon. Ocean life is among the most affected by plastic and trash. People seem especially careless when going on vacation. Tourists produce huge amount of plastic waste in the beaches every year. As you can see beaches everywhere, littered with junk of all kinds. Once it enters ocean water it becomes even more difficult to retrieve them.
Plastic takes hundreds of years to break down, and therefore that can be a highly toxic substance. A recent study found that micro plastic is present basically everywhere, it’s in the oceans, beaches, forests, and the bodies of many organisms. It’s in the water that we drink as well. Since micro plastic is so small it can be extremely hard to detect and especially to remove.
Trends like trashtag challenge isn’t new
I could honestly go on and on about the dangerous of littering plastic and how it is literally destroying the environment. But let’s instead focus on the fact that there are things being done about it by ordinary people. And also slightly the positive impact of social media and its trends, which often gets a bad name. The trashtag challenge isn’t the first social medial challenge that is having a positive impact on the world. The ice bucket challenge was another.
Unfortunately we are already a little late when it comes to the cleanup party. There is already a huge trash Island in the Pacific called The Great Pacific garbage patch. That’s right an entire island made of just trash, and it’s the size of Texas. There are lots of beaches from Philippines to Thailand that have closed their beaches to tourists temporarily and many more beaches will be closed in the near future. To deal with the effect of waste that has accumulated to the island due to tourism. This shows more than anything how careless tourist can be. When on vacation we usually go to some of the most beautiful places in the world. places that are usually environmental treasure troves. It’s our responsibility to make sure that those places stay in their pristine condition. It’s our responsibility to be responsible tourists and not through trash here and there.
The trashtag challenge is certainly one of the best social media challenges out there and now let’s take the trashtag challenge a step further and make sure that every time we go on vacation we clean up the place we’re in, and if no that, lets at least make sure we leave the place how we found it. Let’s make responsible tourism a trend, so more beaches don’t have to close down for our sake.
Written by Zuyairia Moslemeen Khan