Online challenges aren’t always something to be celebrated – even the quickest of glances at the recent Momo Challenge hoax will tell you that. But there’s a new hashtag that’s been reignited on social media and, for once, it’s one that people are getting behind for all the right reasons. Introducing #Trashtag.
The concept behind #Trashtag has been circulating on the internet for years, but has come back into the public eye once again thanks to a recent Facebook post from Byron Román, encouraging ‘bored teens’ to take before-and-after photos of an area they’ve cleaned up.
‘Take a photo of an area that needs some cleaning or maintenance, then take a photo after you have done something about it, and post it,’ he implores in his post, which has since had 328k shares.
However, the hashtag has now been picked up across all social media platforms and has been flooded with people of all ages around the world picking up litter, doing DIY and generally doing their bit to improve their little piece of the planet, both visually and environmentally.
— Megan (@bacon_N_megs) March 10, 2019
Here’s our #trashtag from yesterday. About 15 people cleaned the trail in our neighborhood. We didn’t realize this was trending so didn’t take proper pictures but we did it. Plus, we found a couple of #rattlesnakes !! pic.twitter.com/3Xl0pzERsu
— Hillary (@FyshWyfe) March 11, 2019
— Fred Schroeder (@fred_schroeder) March 10, 2019
The beauty of the challenge lies in its simplicity – it requires little to no equipment, can be completed in anything from a matter of minutes to several days, and makes a difference no matter where it is done.
However, speaking to The Halifax Star, just one of the local papers reporting on the influx of volunteers in the area, Mark Butler, policy director of environmental charity Ecology Action Centre (EAC), said that the clean-up was important, but it’s only the beginning.
‘We need to do more than go behind the people that are littering and clean it up. We need to turn off the plastic tap,’ he explained, adding that he hoped the campaign would start wider conversations about the products we buy and the waste they produce.
‘There’s the waste hierarchy, which is to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle. If we don’t do that stuff, then all we’ll be doing is cleaning up the litter with no end in sight.’