A challenge worth trendingThe #trashtag challenge is a good way to get everyone to clean their areas
Social media has the power to fascinatingly spread contents—both good and bad—over the internet. But recently, the internet’s new plague was the cult of the negative and dangerous virals. From eating Tide Pods to snorting cinnamon and dancing beside a moving car—social media challenges have gone on a different tangent altogether. But if something crazy can go viral, it’s just as likely that something more meaningful can go viral too. Insert the #trashtag challenge. This challenge, unlike jeopardising health and safety, is encouraging social media users to indulge in more wholesome activity like helping clean up public spaces. And it’s refreshing to see young, environmentally conscious Nepalis picking up the challenge while egging others to do the same.
Bishnu Tamang, 26, a city tour guide, decided to hop on the clean-up drive inspired by the #trashtag challenge. At Jamacho Gumba, 17 kilometres uphill from Raniban, Tamang and his friend Ashok Nepal collected four sacks of trash and handed it over to the Nepal Army barracks in Nagarjun. Similarly, a group of MBBS students also took part in the challenge in Bhaktapur on Wednesday.
The #trashtag challenge has inspired people to go to locations covered in garbage, pick up the trash, and post before and after pictures on social media. The hashtag had been around since 2015, but it was only when a Reddit—a community forum—user proposed that it would be a good global challenge ‘to make the world a better place’ that it caught on. The idea germinated as a way of raising awareness of litter pollution and the scale of ocean plastic.
Nepalis are quick to follow any global trend or challenge; and even better, contextualise it. For example, inspired by the Ice Bucket Challenge—the challenge that changed the way charity was being done—the #FillTheBucket challenge in 2014 saw Nepalis from all over the world collecting a bucketful of essentials for flood and landslide victims in west Nepal.
Waste management is a perennial issue. Most of our public spaces are filled with litter with empty bottles being tossed around in parks and wrappers thrown all over the road. While Kathmandu Metropolitan City picks up garbage from our homes, we falsely believe that as long as we clean our houses, we have contributed to a cleaner environment. But that is a grave misconception. Making our surroundings and communities clean is everyone’s responsibility, including the government’s. For starters, the government should ensure there are dustbins at interval intervals on the streets, while the public, for its part, should exercise civic sense.
The #trashtag challenge is a good way to get everyone inspired to clean their areas. Let us hope this drive sustains and does not die out as soon as a new challenge starts trending.