Internet challenges are not new for youngsters in Kerala. From ice bucket challenge to dangerous stunts like stepping down from a running car or dancing in front of moving vehicles, the youth have embraced it all.
Some of these challenges though have turned into a nuisance for the public and even landed the youth in trouble. But a group of students from the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) in Kochi, Kerala are getting plaudits for taking up a globally trending internet challenge - #Trashtag challenge.
#Trashtag challenge requires people to take photos of garbage piled up in an area before and after it is cleaned. These photos should then be posted as âbeforeâ and âafterâ along with the hashtag.
Through the challenge, students have managed to clean the premises of the university, which had been a dumping ground for garbage for the past many years.
âSince a public road passes through the university, connecting two municipalities of the district, our campus premises had always been a waste dumping yard. Though we had done some cleaning initiatives before, the issue remained. So when we came across this internet challenge, we thought it could be used to grab the attention of people to stop dumping of garbage here, Ramees Rahman, research scholar of the university told TNM.
Students of CUSAT near garbage pile before starting #Trashtag challenge
Though the challenge is trending globally, there have been very few takers in India and almost none in Kerala. âWhen we researched about this, we could only find a few people who have taken up this challenge in the country. One was a man in Mumbai and another in Manipur. We believe that when students come together collectively for socially good internet challenges like this, it will become an inspiration to other youngsters,â said Ramees.
The cleaning drive as part of the challenge was carried out by a group of 20 students of CUSAT, with the support of Womenâs Studies Centre in the University.
âWe gave full support to the students since this internet challenge is all about helping people to fight against pollution,â Dr Meera Bai, director of Womenâs Studies Centre told TNM.
By cleaning a section of the campus premises, the students were able to collect garbage in about 150 bags in just four hours. The students have also made it a point to segregate the waste while cleaning the area. âWhile segregating the waste, we got more than 1,000 plastic sachets of Horlicks and Boost packets. We will post a photo of these plastic sachets on Facebook, tagging Horlicks and Boost companies. We want them to stop selling their products in plastic sachets, which amounts to tons of waste throughout the country,â said Ramees.
They are now planning to extend the challenge to more areas in the city.
Inception of #Trashtag Challenge
The challenge began four years as the Trashtag Project in 2015, by a company called UCO that makes outdoor gear. The project encouraged people to find littered areas and clean them.
Though the project lost its charm within a year, an internet challenge #Trashtag started a few months ago, has now gone viral across the globe with many people posting pictures with it.