The latest viral challenge is inspiring people to clean up trash at parks and beaches

The latest viral challenge is inspiring people to clean up trash at parks and beaches

We've seen viral challenges that were silly, like the Mannequin Challenge, the Water Flip Challenge and the Koala Challenge. We've also seen viral challenges that were dangerous, like eating Tide Pods, pouring boiling water on your skin and doing a daily activity blindfolded like the characters in the movie Bird Box. Sure, walking across your living room blindfolded is fairly safe, but driving a car? Not so much.

It's refreshing, then, to see a totally wholesome challenge trending on Twitter. In the #TrashTag Challenge, people clean up the litter in an outdoor area - like a beach, park or nature trail - and share the before-and-after photos. Facebook user Byron Román sparked the trend with a viral post, writing, "Here is a new #challenge for all you bored teens. 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."

before and after photos of Trashtag challenge where you clean up trash in an outdoor area Credit: Facebook

Román's Facebook post is no longer available, but was reportedly shared at least 314,000 times. On Twitter, several people felt inspired to participate in the #TrashTag challenge, and shared pictures of themselves collecting blights of trash from outdoor spaces. Here are some highlights:

"It’s the only outdoors we have," wrote Cody Lee Hanson, who shared his #TrashTag photos on Instagram. "We all use it for many different things but it is the only one we have. So let’s all do our part and treat it with respect. Let’s pick up after ourselves and then pick up extra. It only takes a few minutes of your time to pick up something that’ll far outlast us humans if left alone. ⁣"

Originally the #trashtag concept was created for The Trashtag Project, a contest created in 2015 by the gear company Utility, Comfort and Originality. They encouraged people to clean up garbage and post pictures of their efforts on Twitter in hope of winning free outdoor gear. There's no similar prize for the 2019 contest, so the satisfaction of cleaning up our dirty planet will have to be its own reward.

The #TrashTag challenge received praise from many Twitter users, who are used to seeing viral challenges that are painfully stupid. "Freaking love this #trashtag movement. Bout time we got a #challenge actually worth doing," wrote on person, while another declared,"#TrashTag is the best challenge social media has ever created."

Thanks to the participants in the #TrashTag challenge, the planet - and the internet - are becoming more wholesome places. For now, anyway.