Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 19 May 2019

#Trashtag: the eco-conscious social media challenge that's gone viral

The trending hashtag is encouraging users to clean up their communities

The #TrashTag Challenge has gone viral across the world. Instagram / themostwholesomememes
The #TrashTag Challenge has gone viral across the world. Instagram / themostwholesomememes

Earlier this week we saw some of the UAE's key figures taking part in a popular social media challenge, as they revealed seven of their favourite books over seven days. Now, another one has gone viral, demonstrating we all just can't get enough of these online challenges.

Thankfully, this one is not asking anyone to do anything dangerous or stupid, like last year's Bird Box Challenge. Instead, the Trashtag Challenge is encouraging users to head to nearby locations that are covered in garbage, and clean up, then post before and after pictures on social media. So far there are more than 27,000 posts on Instagram, from across the world, where volunteers have tidied up parks, roads and beaches.

We're yet to locate any from the UAE, but, like with plogging (jogging while picking up litter), we're keen to see it catch on here.

The hashtag has been around since 2015, when outdoors clothing company UCO launched the #TrashTag Project, but has recently been thrust back into the spotlight after a Reddit post challenged individuals to "make the world a better place".

Ultimately, it aims to raise awareness of litter pollution and the issue of plastics in the ocean. At the recent World Ocean Summit, held in the UAE, efforts to tackle the scourge of plastic pollution was top of the agenda.

“With statistics indicating that there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050, the world must step up and commit to a more concrete action plan to generate solutions that can reverse these statistics,” said Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.

Similar social media challenges in the past have been successful in raising awareness of pressing issues. For example, the Ice Bucket Challenge raised $115 million (Dh422.3 million) for the ALS Association, which helps individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neuro-degenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Participants were asked to throw a bucket of ice over themselves and then nominate others to take part.

At least this one isn't so uncomfortable.

Updated: March 13, 2019 02:15 PM

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