There’s A New Dumb Social Media Meme That Might Actually Save The Planet

trashtag challenge

We have witnessed a lot of garbage social media trends in the brief time humanity has had the internet. From the relative harmlessness of “do it for the Vine” to the deep stupidity of planking to the outright disingenuousness of the ice bucket challenge, we have, as a species, largely used our extraordinary connectedness via the peak of technology for evil. Or at the very least, abject vanity.

So I had small hopes when it came to the so-called trashtag challenge. But even though the meme definitely trades on that most-coveted form of social capital (completely fake internet points as arbiters of popularity), it actually seems to be doing something good while boosting participants’ performative egos: it’s genuinely getting people to clean up their immediate environment.

Image result for captain planet gif

Captain Planet would be… moderately pleased, I guess?

The trashtag challenge involves people going into the wilderness (or to the beach, or on summer holiday or whatever), discovering garbage, photographing said garbage, picking UP said garbage, and photographing the resulting pristine state to which they’ve returned their surroundings. It’s pretty nice!

This should be the new challenge to make the world a better place!
by u/Baxxo25 in wholesomememes

The meme has been going wild over on Reddit, but it’s made its way to Twitter as well, with people around the world taking the opportunity to run down to their nearest stream or patch of forest and pick up the trash left by their gross neighbours.

It seems to have been kickstarted by this incredible visual of Versova Beach in Mumbai, where Afroz Shah and co. spent 96 weeks picking up 5 million kilograms of garbage.

It took 3 years to clean the Versova Beach in Mumbai. All this happened due to exemplary efforts of one man(Afroz Shah) and his team. #trashtag !
by in pics

Since then, the meme has spread all over:

Cleaned up a beach on an island off the east coast of Johor, Malaysia. Sat 9th Feb 2019 #trashtag
by u/Cork1986 in pics

Beach cleanup in Bohol, Philippines. 250kg of trash collected in an hour. #trashtag
by u/_jinch_ in pics

Here’s mine! Cleaned up a creek in Asheville, NC collected 44 bags of trash #trashtag
by u/ssiwakot in pics

3 women cleaned up this area together. #trashtag
by u/buttsaginton10 in pics

#trashtag from Hungary, let’s make this challenge more viral
by u/Rosina_Anello in pics

#trashtag seems to be trending. This one’s from Nepal 🇳🇵
by in wholesomememes

And while yes, obviously, some of the posts are fake or stolen, the net positives from this particular social media meme seem pretty clearly to outweigh the few negatives. Trashtag challenge, mates! Clean shit up and enjoy the dopamine rush of those 25 likes, and actually doing something good for the planet!