Asia-Pacific

#Trashtag: The viral craze taking on rubbish, one social media post at a time

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The viral challenge #trashtag is encouraging a cleaner world - inspiring participants to share before-and-after photographs of their clean-up effort.

The war on waste has been re-ignited by the viral social media #Trashtag challenge, which encourages people to clean-up their communities.

The essence of the challenge is simple: Participants post before and after photos of their clean-up efforts to their online platforms, titling their hard work with the #Trashtag hashtag.

Hundreds of #Trashtag participants have so far shared their photos - many depicting themselves among a mountain of garbage bags.

Their posts are from all over the globe - with countless bags being filled anywhere from Norway to Nepal.

With the global production of waste climbing rapidly, the World Bank's report on solid waste management in 2016 found the world's cities had generated 2.01 billion tonnes of solid waste.

This amounted to an estimated footprint of 0.74 kilograms per person per day.

Forecasts by the World Bank expect this figure to increase by 70 per cent by 2050, with population growth and urbanisation cited as key contributors.

Clean Up Australia managing director said the challenge was a positive step with the before-and-after photos providing instant gratification.

"Every day is a clean up day for us – and if social media is the best channel to encourage a generation to get down and dirty then we are more than happy to explore," Ms Johnson told SBS News.

"We think it's great to see people finding new ways to share their experience of where rubbish is accumulating and how they have been the change-maker who has done something about it."

Zero Waste Victoria president Kirsty Bishop-Fox hopes the #Trashtag challenge will inspire all generations to contribute toward a cleaner world.

"This challenge is a really great starting point to get people thinking about waste...but the first step is thinking about the amount of rubbish you put in the bin," Ms Bishop-Fox told SBS News.

"If we don't acknowledge the source, we'll always be picking up rubbish and generating waste."

The #Trashtag movement has been around since 2015, started by outdoor gear company UCO in a bid to raise awareness around wilderness conservation.

But recently the hashtag has enjoyed a resurgence, with many joining the fast-growing social media community who are attempting to foster a rubbish-free world.

Chair for Western Australia's Alliance for a Clean Environment, Jane Bremmer views the challenge as an eye-opening glance into the waste produced by single-use, disposable and non-recyclable products.

"I think younger generations are more aware of the legacy of pollution impacts caused by the fossil fuel industry and unsustainable materials production systems and what this means for their future," Ms Bremmer told SBS News.

"This kind of social media challenge can really help people to rethink their consumption of single use products and the waste management systems that operate in their towns and cities."

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