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#Trashtag challenge motivating people to stop littering

Posted at 6:00 PM, Mar 13, 2019

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — This is not like the social media challenges we have seen in the past-- like the popular Tide pod Challenge or just recently the Cheese in the Face challenge-- but this campaign could actually do some good for the environment.

It's called the #trashtag challenge where people take a picture of an area that has a lot of trash, then they clean it up and then take another picture and post the before and after pictures with #trashtagchallenge.

"To get people to do something constructive and see the difference... what a great idea," Sharen Trembath, Lake Erie Coordinator for the International Coastal Clean up said.

Trembath runs the Great Lakes Beach Sweep every year in September that helps clean 95 miles of shore line from Pennsylvania to Niagara Falls. This will be the 35th year of the clean up and Trembath says people can help clean water systems every day by just picking up after themselves.

"Take a bag every time you go out, fill a bag, that's all you have to do just do a little part at a time," Trembath said.

For eight years, Mark Patten of Hamburg has been picking up trash at Woodlawn Beach State Park. He has picked up 25,000 lbs of trash over the years and just last year, the Town of Hamburg hired him part time to start picking up all the garbage.

Patten says he does it because he loves how the beach looks after he is done.

"It comes in from the lake and the lake is full of garbage," Patten said.

Patten's fiance posted a photo of Patten with a bunch of garage bags for the #trashtag challenge. The post has since gone viral with many people reaching out to try and help clean up and also thank Patten for his hard work over the years.

"Every square inch of this beach was full of garbage," Patten said. He adds that he has notice the trash decrease in recent years but is still overwhelmed with how much trash washes up on the Lake Erie shoreline.

There are events coming up this year for people to get involved in the big clean up.
Earth day is April 22nd.
The Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper has many events throughout the year that help clean up the water systems.
The Great Lakes Beach Sweep will take place in September.