It’s not often that a viral hashtag on social media goes, well, beyond social media. But an online challenge encouraging users to clean up places has seen tens of thousands of people doing just that.

A new viral craze has seen young people globally participating in litter picking activities. #trashtag is a challenge originally started by the American outdoor apparel company, UCO Gear. So far, the hashtag has seen engagement in countries as far apart, both geographically and politically, as the UK and Russia.

The company says, ‘we’ve all experienced that ‘accidental littering’ moment, and the embarrassment and horror that comes with it. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same attachment to keeping our natural spaces pristine’. UCO are suitably thrilled with the spread of their project since is establishment in 2015.

Although there is no official data stating the mass of litter #trashtag has taken out of the environment, experts estimate that from social media posts this value will be significant, and contribute to other initiatives such as Surfers Against Sewage and Divers Against Debris in their efforts to remove plastic and other waste from the environment.

Scientists have urged participants put in a little extra work and weigh and analyse the trash they collect, submitting it one of the previously mentioned companies. This step will help scientists to keep track of the types of litter collected and analyse patterns and trends to help identify ways to stop this problem getting worse.

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October 2021
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