In the past few years, hashtag challenges have become a viral hit all around the world. People have succumbed to dumping ice cold water over themselves, dancing like fools, and even playing tricks on their significant others. When a Reddit user posted a picture along 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,” without missing a step, people jumped into action.The original poster of the challenge started something that really is making a difference in the world. Instead of eating Tide Pods, or whatever it is that kids are doing these days, they're getting off of their video games and heading outside to pick up the piles of trash that can be found just about anywhere.
2.12 Billion Tons
The world produces 2.12 BILLION tons of trash every year, which is absolutely unacceptable. When these kids from Vietnam received the #Trashtag challenge, they jumped at the chance to make a difference in their area! And just look at all of the trash they picked up! Way to go kids!
Making the decision to clean up trash is a great service to the Earth, but it's also a part of the responsibility of living on Earth. And these people took their responsibility very seriously. "We did our first “official” beach clean-up in Belize that past December. 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."
Too Much Stuff
One of the major reasons why there is so much trash being produced is because people buy too much STUFF. Humans have a tendency of liking something for a month or two, and then when they get bored of it, they just toss it to the side and forget about it. More often than not, those things just end up in a landfill.
Did you know that 80% of water pollution comes from land-based resources AKA irresponsible humans? "We have to clean up the existing mess, but bottle deposit laws and styrofoam bans would prevent most of it. Contact your local, state, and federal representatives and insist on this," Robbie McNeil. He's right, you know?
Alta, Norway Students
40 Norwegian students from Folk High School spent the weekend cleaning up their local beach. These determined students picked up almost 30,000 pounds of garbage! Unfortunately, there are still billions of pounds of garbage left out there, so why are you still sitting on your phone?
Retired School Teacher
This woman is a 70-year-old retired school teacher from the Bronx, New York. She has spent the past few months hanging up these signs and cleaning up different areas in her neighborhood. This just proves that it doesn't matter how old you are, it doesn't take too much to make a difference.
Durban Beach, South Africa
According to the World Ocean Network, 6.5 million tons of trash finds its way into the ocean every single year. Of that amount, 50% is long-lasting plastic that will drift around in the water for hundreds of years before it will deteriorate. Luckily, there are people out there that care enough to do their part.
While these people were offroading in California, they decided to do a bit of cleaning. More than 100,000 chemicals are used commercially every single day. So when those containers are thrown on the ground, the chemicals go into the ground, too! Obviously, this is extremely bad for the environment.
The good news is that you don't have to clean an entire beach to make a difference. The person who shared this photo said: "There's an organization I volunteer at and we basically do cleanups like this in the city. Places that have been forgotten by the local government and make them accessible for the public. Peace." You see, small changes add up to major changes in almost no time at all!
If you have the manpower, huge groups of people can really tackle the horrendous amount of trash accumulating on our planet. For example, it only took 10 people to clean up this small section of a beach. But that's really nothing compared to the people in the next picture!
It's a sad fact that the waters surrounding India are some of the most polluted waters in the world. 500 volunteers came together to clean up Mumbai Beach in India. Do you see what happens when enough caring people come together? The Earth could be cleaned in no time at all if people just cared a little bit more.
This is what happens when people stop paying attention to their surroundings. Trash starts to pile up and things begin to look disgusting. Luckily, whoever did this saw a problem and jumped at the chance to correct it. It looks much better now, doesn't it?
Make It A Date
You and your significant other can even make a date out of it! That's what these volunteers did. Instead of spending money going out to eat or buying things they don't need, (which means more trash by the way) they decided to pick up their local beach. Romantic AND good for the environment! You can't really beat that.
It's really sad to see piles of trash on the side of the road while you're driving in your car. These people from South Africa were so sick of looking at the trash accumulating on the side of the road, so they did their part to clean up what seems like a neverending mess. If more people consistently did this, the world would be a much nicer place.
Parents, teaching your children to be a good human is your responsibility. That means that it's your duty to teach your children the importance of cleaning up the Earth. This family made a family get-together out of cleaning the beach, and by the way this looks, they were extremely successful.
Doing Their Part
Last summer, Florida was smashed with red tide and blue algae, causing a huge amount of trash and dead animals to wash ashore. Needless to say, Florida's beaches got a bit messy. This family is doing their part by not only cleaning up the beach themselves, but they're teaching their children to do it, as well.
Every Little Piece Counts
It's also important to remember that every little piece of trash that's picked up is helpful to the environment. Instead of going out for their birthday, this person decided to pick up some trash. And they walked away with four bags, which means that there are four fewer bags of trash polluting the Earth!
Make A Difference
Most likely, every single one of you can help make a difference in the amount of trash out there. Whether you reduce your carbon footprint by buying less and producing less trash, or you're actually out there cleaning up another person's mess, you can do something to help this dire situation that we're all a part of.
It doesn't even take up that much of your time, either! In just one hour, this man was able to pick up all of this trash. Can you really say that you don't have one hour a week to spare for a good cause?
This is what happens when communities come together to do what needs to get done. This community realized that they had a major problem on their hands, so they pulled together and got it cleaned up. And with just a little bit of accountability, it never needs to look that way again.
It's absolutely incredible how far #trashtag is traveling and how many people are accepting the challenge! This person from Nepal accepted the challenge and he did an incredible job cleaning up this area, which was COVERED in careless people's garbage. Thanks for helping the cause!
Making A Difference
It doesn't matter if you're cleaning with a large group, or getting it done on your own, the Earth needs your help. "Just one of the many days cleaning up our local waterways. Featuring Selma Kayak and Large Marge the Garbage Barge." Armed with a kayak and plastic bags, this woman helped make a difference in her local community.
Pack In, Pack Out
Everyone likes having a good time, but do you really need to leave your trash behind? As a general rule of thumb, anything you take into a place, you take it with you when you leave. Your beer bottles, plastic bottles, and empty snack bags don't belong on the beach.
It All Goes To The Ocean
More often than not, the plastic trash that ends up in the water gets swallowed by the fish and other sea creatures that live in the water. Then, those fish are caught and sold commercially. That means anything that the fish has eaten is now in someone's body. If you don't care about the Earth enough, don't you care about yourself and the health of your fellow humans?
Be The Change
As you can see, it doesn't matter how old you are, if you're doing it with a group, or if it takes you a week to clean up your local area. It needs to be done! The Earth needs to be cleaned up, and humans are the only ones able to get it done! Do your part and schedule a cleanup as soon as possible, because there's really no more time to wait for someone else to do it. Be the change you wish to see in the world!