Most hashtags and social media challenges are just for fun, but every once and a while a hashtag takes off that sheds new light on a worthy cause. A few years back, we had the ice bucket challenge for ALS awareness, and how we have #trashtag, a hashtag that challenges people to get busy cleaning up the environment.
These before and after photos showcase the best of human nature. Keep reading to see people hard at work putting garbage where garbage belongs (spoiler alert: garbage does not belong in lakes, on the grass, or on the side of the road).
A Clean Forest Is A Happy Forest
This photo was taken in a wooded area of Vietnam just outside the central downtown core. The area is overrun with tourists who have a habit of leaving garbage around. Vietnamese locals also have a littering habit that’s proving difficult to break.
These young people all got together and took it upon themselves to clean up. Everyone who volunteered said that they were so affected by the forest tidying experience that they would never littler again.
The Beach Before And After
This travel and wellness blogger put her own spin on the #trashtag challenge. She posted a series of photos on her blog documenting her productive trip to the beach in Belize.
Christine and Sarah McLean who run the blog wrote, “Before this, I’d say we were classified as “beach(trash)combers,” picking up the odd straw and plastic bottle we saw on our walks. However, for Belize, we traveled there with the intention of dedicating time to picking up any trash we came across on our hikes and beach walks. We even created a social media “clean-up crew” by partnering with other travelers to do a clean-up with us at the same time.”
The Post That Started It All
This is the photo that started it all. A Reddit user posted this photo on the site with the caption, “Here is a new #challenge for all you bored teens. 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 here.”
The post completely took off and tons of people on Reddit considered the post to be a wholesome meme. After this post got upvoted thousands of time, #trashtag started trending all over social media.
The Side of The Road Is A Little Bit More Beautiful Now
This Reddit user took it upon himself to clean up an area of the street near their home in South Africa. They shared his photo on Reddit using the hashtag #trashtag, and people responded very positively.
Many other Reddit users thanked them for doing their part to keep our planet clean. Hashtags can be silly or funny, but in this case, a hashtag is inspiring people to help save the planet, and that is an amazing thing.
Large Marge The Garbage Barge
This queen of social media and all things environmental posted these photos on Twitter with the caption, “Just one of the many days cleaning up our local waterways. Featuring Selma Kayak and Large Marge the Garbage Barge.” Those are the best nautical names since that whole Boaty McBoatface debacle.
This woman is doing her part to save the environment, and she’s having fun while doing it. That is exactly what maintaining our planet should be about.
An Off-Road Experience
These Reddit users did their part for #trashtag while they were offroading in Southern California. They came across this pile of garbage in a gorgeous wooded mountainous area of the state and they decided to do something about it.
Some viral trends can be annoying, they just give people an excuse to humblebrag on the internet, but this hashtag is actually doing what a hashtag should do: unite people in pursuit of a common goal.
A Group Effort
This Twitter user posted these photos on Twitter with the caption, “the community in my hometown in Mexico got together and cleaned up garbage
#TrashChallenge #TrashChallenge #trashtag.”
Sometimes it takes a whole village clean up the earth, but there’s no telling what can be accomplished when people put aside their differences and work together. This ravine is now garbage-free because these people cared enough to clean it up. Now the wild animals who live here won’t get sick from the trash.
Making A Real Difference
This is a photo of Manila Bay in The Philippines, which for many years was considered to be one of the dirtiest bays in the world. After 11 years, the Supreme Court finally issued a cleanup order, and thousands of volunteers signed up to clean the bay in a big way. On January 27th, 2019, the volunteers got started, and now, the bay is gorgeous, clean, and clear.
This is what #trashtag is all about. We don’t need to wait for the government to step in, though. We can start making changes in our own backyards.
Read The Signs, People
This loving nephew posted a picture of his aunt on Reddit with the caption, “My aunt is a 70-year-old retired school teacher and she has been making these signs and going around cleaning up our neighborhood in the Bronx for a few months now #Trashtag.”
This is proof that one person really can make a difference. Not only is this woman cleaning up her neighborhood, but she’s also encouraging others to do the same.
Quit Horsing Around And Do The #Trashtag Challenge
This is a photo from Saint Petersburg, Russia. The major cleanup depicted in this photo took place in September 2018. After the snow melted in this area, layers of trash became visible. Now this area is a great place to go for a trail ride. Before the cleanup, all of that garbage could have seriously injured someone (or some horse).
This Instagram user posted these photos on social media to inspire other people to clean up the natural spaces around them.
What A Little Bit Of Time Can Do
This is what this Reddit user was able to accomplish in just one hour. This yard looks a lot cleaner than it did before. 1.3 Billion tonnes of household waste is generated per year, but only around 300 million tons of it ends up in landfills. A lot of the waste ends up in our oceans or on our streets.
Landfills aren’t perfect, but it’s a lot better for trash to go in designated trash areas than all over our beautiful earth where it could harm animals and humans.
This Trash Got Schooled
These students from Tetso College in Dimapur, India accepted the #trashtag challenge. They worked for hours to clean up this yard that’s located close to their school. If everyone took a cue from these students and started tidying public spaces, our world would be a whole lot cleaner in a very short amount of time.
Picking up trash may not seem like glamorous work, but it’s work that has to be done if we’re going to protect our environment.
These three women decided to make a change in their community and clean up some trash on the side of the road. Teamwork really does make the dream work. Even though these ladies were hard at work, surrounded by smelly garbage, they still look like they’re having a good time.
The #trashtag challenge doesn’t have to be a chore— it can be a bonding experience. Working on something like this with your friends can really bring you closer together.
A Kid’s Beach Cleanup
These kids worked hard cleaning up beaches in Florida. The trash that ends up in the ocean does immense damage to the fish and ecosystem. Every straw or pop can tab that drifts out to sea has the potential to hurt a turtle, a dolphin, or a whole school of fish.
Taking just one piece of trash off the beach and putting it in the garbage can help save an animal’s life.
From Cluttered To Clean
Around 500 volunteers helped with the cleanup of 5 million kg of trash from this Mumbai beach. One person can make a difference, but 500 people can make an even bigger difference. Take your friends with you to the beach and have your friends bring their friends.
Pretty soon, you’ll have a huge crew and the beach is going to look a whole lot nicer and cleaner. Maybe you’ll even make some new friends in the process.
Kayak And Clean At The Same Time
This Twitter user cleans up floating debris in Jamaica Bay, New York while kayaking. Kayaking on its own is already a workout. This man has combined an activity that’s good for his health with an activity that’s good for the planet’s health.
By posting this photo on Twitter, he’s inspiring others to integrate taking care of the earth into their daily lives. You can even do it while you work out or just while you’re going for a stroll.
Surfers Against Sewage
Surfers Against Sewage, or SAS, an environmental organization that works to protect beaches in the United Kingdom. In March of 2014, they gathered 3,500 volunteers to clean up this coastline. They called the event The Big Spring Clean, and in total, they removed 25 tons of trash from the beach.
They documented some of the more unusual pieces of trash they found, including a Canadian liberal political candidate sign, a set of dentures, a television, a fridge, and a container of yogurt from the 1970s.
A Team Effort
Recently, 40 Norwegian Folk High School students from Alta spent one week picking trash at a local beach. In total, they were able to gather 12,400 kg or nearly 3,000 pounds of trash. That’s 44kg or 97 pounds of trash per day per student.
All of their hard work paid off, and now that local beach is so much cleaner. In case you were wondering, those large trash bags in the photo do get washed out and reused.
What A Difference
This Twitter user spent a few days cleaning up this creek all by himself. If he had a group of friends with him, it only would have taken them a few hours. Help out your friends when they take on amazing environmental projects.
We applaud this man for everything he’s done for our planet, and for sharing his efforts on Twitter. Aren’t you just a little bit inspired to go outside and start making a difference?
A Major Accomplishment
This man from Nepal took it upon himself to clean up his community and do something positive for the environment. He seems to have thrown out his shirt and his mustache in the process… I guess it gets hot in Nepal.
I bet those ten bags of garbage are just the beginning. If you’ve been inspired by these earth heroes, put on some rubber gloves, go outside, and start cleaning up the world around you.