LIHUE — People on Kauai are joining a viral worldwide internet trend that encourages behavior more responsible than the viral Momo or Tide Pod Challenge.
The #Trashtag Challenge caught fire on Instagram and other social media platforms in early March and thousands worldwide have posted pictures of themselves picking up litter, marine debris, and other trash from the landscape. Hashtags posted along with the photos include #trashtagchallege.
Kauai’s Surfrider Chapter dropped the hashtag on Tuesday, with a before and after picture of a 1,200-pound net retrieved from one of Kauai’s east side beaches.
The Facebook caption reads: “Mahalo to our growing net patrol team! #trashtag”.
Surfrider member Barbara Weidner posted the hashtag, hoping to ignite motivation for individuals to do mini-cleanups around Kauai. She said she’s already seen the power of social media to connect the community — it was demonstrated Tuesday just after she got word the net was on the beach.
“We posted the net and four minutes later I had someone willing to help,” Weidner said. “The next morning at 6:45, we met up with a few other volunteers.”
That same day, the net was cleaned up.
The #Trashtag Challenge is a reiteration of an online campaign that landed on the internet in 2015 and it leads to people posting evidence of themselves cleaning up the environment.
That’s because the trick to the challenge is to post before and after shots of the area you’ve been cleaning — and make a big enough impact to garner social media likes on your post.
For instance, on March 11 a Norwegian Folk High School posted a photo of students with bags full of 27,337 pounds of trash they’d collected. Posts include people collecting trash on kayaks in the Everglades, under overpasses in France, and riverside in Africa.
Kauai already has residents and visitors dedicated to the environment, and this is a chance for those who are already doing individual cleanups around the island to get involved online and inspire others to do the same.
“It helps generate awareness,” Weidner said. “You don’t need a beach cleanup to go and clean up trash.”
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.