3,997 sacks of waste collected in a nationwide two-day trash tag challenge by over 2000 volunteers

The biggest trash tag challenge in the country took place last weekend saw an overwhelming turnout of 2,103 volunteers all across the country to take up the famous trash tag challenge which is trending on social media these days.  Over 3,997 sacks of wastes from all the dzongkhags were collected.

This latest trash tag (#trashtag) challenge which involves taking photos of a littered area before and after cleaning it up was undertaken as a nationwide challenge on 30th and 31st March.

Namgyal Wangchuk who initiated this nationwide challenge is currently pursuing masters in social work in Australia. “Soon as the challenge started becoming a trend on social media, I thought this could be a good opportunity to bring our people together by making it nationwide program which I knew everyone would be interested in. It is unclear how long the two-week-old trend will last on social media but whoever participates in this event will remember and be proud to be this historic challenge. This is one of the best social media challenges so far,” he added.

The initiative was organized via Facebook by creating a group and page where more than thousand had confirmed their participation on the social media group. “Staying miles away and initiating such event back home, I didn’t anticipate such huge turn-up and I initially targeted about 500 participants,” he said, adding that he was overwhelmed with the huge turn up which was three folds higher than the set target.

While the challenge is not a new concept in a country with youths taking up the challenge individually or in small groups, he said this is the first challenge that was taken up nationwide. “The idea of calling it to challenge becomes more attractive to youth rather than simply calling it a cleaning campaign,” he said.

“It just takes a little initiative from individuals to clean up a place and the difference can be phenomenal.” At least one individual from each dzongkhag had volunteered to coordinate the challenge.

Kushap Kaflay, one of the coordinators in Thimphu and overall dzongkhag coordinator, said the two-day event saw more than a thousand volunteers across the country. He said volunteers were mostly from colleges and schools.

The dress code for the two-day challenge was white T-shirt while the plastic gloves and sacks were provided by the coordinators, donated by the shops and sponsors. The waste was collected by Greener Way.  “It’s overwhelming to see people are coming forward and willing to contribute refreshments and other necessary items to clean up the litter.”

For the challenge, the coordinators identified the most littered area and take a photo or make videos of the area before and after the cleanup. The organisers will compile all the pictures and videos and make a video which will be uploaded on YouTube.

Tshoki, 27, one of the volunteers said she is proud to be part of the challenge. “Weekends are mostly spent uselessly, so this was the most fruitful weekend”. “Outdoor spaces just got a lot cleaner thanks to a new viral challenge” she added.

The trend was started by a Facebook user named Byron Román, based in Arizona and his post went completely viral.  “Here is a new #challenge for all you bored teens,” he wrote. “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.”

The original Facebook post, which is no longer available, was shared 314,000 times.

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