One Arizona man is calling out bored teens and in the best way possible.
The #Trashtag challenge has been around for years but Byron Roman grabbed the torch once more and challenged the world in a Facebook post that went viral.
“Here is a new #challenge for all you bored teens,” Roman’s penned. “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 are the people doing it #BasuraChallenge #Trashtag challenge, join the cause.”
The hashtag went viral with thousands of people across the globe posting before and after photos of areas they have cleaned up.
And the internet responded.
UCO, an outdoor gear company, started the TrashTag campaign back in 2015 — encouraging folks to de-litter their environments.
But Roman’s post has re-sparked the initiative.
“I was just looking to add a positive message,” he shared with the Weather Channel. “The message resonated with many around the world, so I guess I inspired more than just my social media friends.”
But can initiatives like TrashTag actually make a dent when it comes to cleaning up?
While the undertakings are noble, it is not that simple as the world is littered with a billion tons annually in garbage.
And according to experts, the issue isn’t going anywhere.
In developing countries, waste management issues are a particular problem as they do not have the caliber of trash collection services other countries do.
But even developed nations have their own set of garbage problems too.
Ideally, once plastic is collected from a beach in America — it is recycled.
But did you know that not everything we are sending to a recycling plant ends up there as a lot of things can’t be recycled cheaply and/or effectively in the U.S. and are either diverted to landfills or shipped overseas where they may be illegally dumped or burned.
According to a 2016 report by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the oceans will contain more plastics than fish by weight by the year 2050.
“We cannot simply recycle or beach-clean our way out of the plastic pollution crisis,” wrote a retired sailor-turned-philanthropist, MacArthur, in a blog post published by the WEF in 2018. “We must move upstream and tackle the flood at its source.”
Some countries like the island nation of Vanuatu, are banning certain single-use plastic items (like shopping bags and cutlery.)
The nation hopes to inspire others to do the same.
But bans would not be the only thing that would solve this crisis.
Experts believe that improving both recycling and collection infrastructures as well as having big businesses cut off using any unnecessary plastics, would help dramatically.
“The problem with plastics is not simply a litter problem, it is a pollution problem created by corporations and mismanaged by governments, and it should be treated as an inherently dangerous substance,” a global project leader on plastic pollution at Greenpeace, Mirjam Kopp, shared in an email with HuffPost this year.
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