With all that is going on in the world, from election drama to air pollution and gun violence, it’s refreshing to learn about people who are making positive change. A new challenge recently went viral on social media, encouraging people all around the world to clean up beaches, streets, parks, or any area littered with trash. Not only does the cleanup challenge improve the look of an area, but it also is a small step towards a healthier environment.
Byron Román began the #trashtag challenge with the initial intent of encouraging teenagers, scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter,or Reddit, to pick up trash once a week. He posted a before photo of himself sitting in an area covered with trash, and an after photo with him standing in that same area, but all the trash was bagged. The striking contrast between the two photos sparked thousands of people around the world to follow in Román’s footsteps. Slowly but surely, the world is looking a little more beautiful.
Román’s #trashtag instructions were as follows: “Take a photo of an area that needs cleaning or maintenance, then take a photo after you have done something about it, and post it.”
People in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Guatemala, Hawaii, England, Florida, and many other areas have uploaded photos of their cleanup projects. For example, a recent video was posted about a group of five tourists from Latvia cleaning up Laem Pong Beach in Thailand. A Thai passerby, who was shocked by the benevolence of these people, recorded the video and uploaded it to Instagram.
“We come here for 10 days and we don’t like what we see around, so we just take trash bags and come and clean,” said 38-year-old Uldis Baumais. Many Thai citizens began commenting on the video, saying how embarrassing it was that tourists were cleaning up after residents. Others wrote that the people who litter are typically people who visit from other parts of Thailand. The sad part is that many people are drawn to the beach for its serenity and seclusion, yet they don’t clean up after themselves. It’s strange, but it’s nice to know that some people are doing something to keep the area clean and beautiful.
The #trashtag challenge is finally a challenge everyone should get behind! No more eating Tide Pods! While the challenge is too new to see the change it is making, the ultimate goal is to stop littering altogether. Sadly, this notion is not engrained in everyone’s mind. If you have #trashtag before and after photos, we want to see them! Show us how you are improving the environment because every little bit counts.