Courtesy of @hamdi_dania on Twitter

People around the world participate in a challenge that benefits the environment.

Tiffany Vo, Photojournalist

A new trend is circulating the Internet and has surfaced among teens and young adults. Known as the #TrashChallenge, it motivates individuals to clean up highly polluted areas. The volunteer would take a photo before and after the process to later post side-by-side in order to compare the drastic difference of removing pollutants from the designated destination. According to CNN, more than 26,000 posts were tagged with the hashtag on Instagram, garnering thousands of volunteers who participated in the challenge.


Courtesy of @tanyavangraan on Instagram


While some are encouraging the act, stating that this is a “trend that matters” and that everyone “should all support” it, others point out how “society is really messed up” to make a trend out of “common sense.” Twitter user @San94_BTS highlights how “responsible people” have to “conduct these kind projects” due to those that are “ignorant” and litter.


Nowadays, it takes “retweets” and “likes” for trends and challenges to motivate people into participating in certain activities. This is very telling of our generation since it shows how people care more about their image than the actual service they perform. However, this is not necessarily bad. Even though the means to the end are not pure, the action is still completed, leading to cleaner streets, roads, beaches, and areas.


Although trends can be silly or outright dangerous, seeing a viral challenge surrounding the idea of helping the planet is very uplifting. Payton Janish (12) rejoices in the fact that “our generation is growing from the stupid fads like the Tide Pod Challenge.” 


Nevertheless, with 40% of the world’s deaths caused by air, water, and soil pollution, action must be taken in order to reduce the disastrous impact human activities have caused, according to Everything Connects. In the oceans, there are over 150 million tonnes of plastic, causing severe harm to the marine life, according to a Worlds Economic Paper in 2016. A 2018 UK government report also warns that the amount of plastic can triple between the year 2015 to 2025.  


The challenge first appeared in 2015 by a competition hosted by UCO: Utility, Comfort, and Originality. People were encouraged to post pictures of themselves picking up trash for a chance to win outdoor gear.


It only takes one person to clean up a large area of a polluted beach. If everyone contributed, the pollution problem would not be as disastrous. Jacob Padgett (12) urges people to “at least clean up after themselves.” At lunch, students are too lazy to even throw away their own lunch food. “The trash-can is right there,” Padgett emphasizes, “don’t force custodians to clean up your trash.”


Courtesy of @hashyko_ on Instagram


No matter how big or how small, anyone can pick up their own trash to better benefit the world. Everyone’s “small” action adds up and makes a big difference. With events like YLHS’s Pride Day, where students help beautify the school, there are always opportunities available to clean up the planet. Taking care of the Earth will only help everyone’s quality of living. AJ Song (12) reminds how humans cannot “fully stop” pollution, but “we should take every step in order to diminish its pernicious effects on nature.”