For once, it isn’t Indore we are talking about, no raving about the ‘Swacchta Abhiyan’, or how we hold the number one title again. Yayyyyyy, though!

Well, if you don’t know about this latest trend on Social Media, you sure are living under a rock! Also, if you hail from Indore, the #Trashtag challenge might make you smirk, and you definitely have reasons, my friend! You sleep each night knowing how clean your city is, the exemplary system it maintains itself with, and technically no residual waste it produces. The perfect example of a well-coordinated waste management setup.

The #TrashTag Challenge is an excellent reminder of how cleanliness can enable communities and the environment to rise.

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Well, in other news, the Internet recently came up with this fantastic trend that has gone super viral, and goes by the name the #Trashtag challenge, which is rapidly gaining popularity worldwide. The #Trashtag challenge includes taking photos of a dirty place/area and then cleaning it up before photographing the same spot again. The end-goal is to post ‘Before-After’ shots of an area before and after the cleaning. While several cities in India are taking examples from the perfectly maintained waste disposal system of Indore, several youngsters are going out and making it count, not waiting for any government entity to take action. The result – from Mumbai to other parts of the world, everyone is actively participating in this Netizen prompted trend and we are already seeing the results!

The challenge has been taken up by people across countries, and goes by different names including #CleanUpChallenge, #trashchallenge and #ChallengeforChange.

 The origin

What first began in 2015, by the outdoor gear company UCO, led to 10,000 pieces of plastic being picked up till October 2016. However, this challenge gained fresh momentum when a Facebook post last week called out to “tired teens” and gave it a new life, thereby ensuring the hashtag went viral.

While the project seemed to die down in intensity by the end of 2016, March 2019 witnessed a revival of the project in the form of the #Trashtag challenge.

And like with everything on the Internet, the challenge soon went viral across the world with netizens posting ‘before-after’ photos of extremely littered spaces that they tidied up.

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This could be the latest add-on to the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’, no kidding!

But before you go ga-ga on this latest trend, we would like you to have a look at what the World Bank report says about the disturbing amount of trash our world has accumulated.

Here’s an edit from the World Bank Press Release.

“As of September, 2018— Without urgent action, global waste will increase by 70 percent on current levels by 2050, according to the World Bank’s new What a Waste 2.0:  A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050 report.

Driven by rapid urbanization and growing populations, global annual waste generation is expected to jump to 3.4 billion tonnes over the next 30 years, up from 2.01 billion tonnes in 2016, the report finds.

Although they only account for 16 percent of the world’s population, high-income countries combined are generating more than one-third (34 percent) of the world’s waste. The East Asia and Pacific region is responsible for generating close to a quarter (23 percent) of all waste.  And by 2050, waste generation in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to more than triple from current levels, while South Asia will more than double its waste stream.

Plastics are especially problematic. If not collected and managed properly, they will contaminate and affect waterways and ecosystems for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. In 2016, the world generated 242 million tonnes of plastic waste, or 12 percent of all solid waste, according to the report.

Solid waste management is critical for sustainable, healthy, and inclusive cities and communities, yet it is often overlooked, particularly in low-income countries.  While more than one-third of waste in high-income countries is recovered through recycling and composting, only 4 percent of waste in low-income countries is recycled.

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Based on the volume of waste generated, its composition, and how the waste is being managed, it is estimated that 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide-equivalent were generated from the treatment and disposal of waste in 2016 – representing about 5 percent of global emissions.

“Mismanagement of waste is harming human health and local environments while adding to the climate challenge,” said Laura Tuck, Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank. “Unfortunately, it is often the poorest in society who are adversely impacted by inadequate waste management.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  Our resources need to be used and then reused continuously so that they don’t end up in landfills.”

The report notes that good waste management systems are essential to building a circular economy, where products are designed and optimized for reuse and recycling. As national and local governments embrace the circular economy, smart and sustainable ways to manage waste will help promote efficient economic growth while minimizing environmental impact.”

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The HD Take

While cleaning the cities on a larger basis has been a target of several political parties (ahem!), seldom do cities see a major change that gets retained over time and is a genuine effort on behalf of those in charge. Indore’s IAS officer is a brilliant example of one such great endeavor. However, endless cities across India, and the globe are full of trash that is only piled up and never witnesses a proper disposal. Several countries choose to discard waste in funny ways (ruining water systems, digging deeper gorges, and other antics!). Just imagine how much trash gets accumulated over the years and has no where to go. This challenge especially is a great way to try and eliminate waste around us – From lakes, to beaches, to parks and roads. Like we already said, the challenge has been seeing hundreds of volunteers in respective countries, picking up garbage and collecting it in trash bags, while urging others to join in and raise awareness about single-use plastic waste.

With youngsters pitching in , it will be great to see where this takes us. And whether or not any political intervention happens ahead of elections! We really hope that garbage disposal is taken seriously, not just on a global level, but also on a personal level.

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