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'Pokemon Go' Sets Goal For Biggest Organized Cleanup On Earth Day

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Nearly two years ago, Pokemon Go was the craze in urban areas across the world. Just about every neighborhood had people reliving their childhood and catching monsters. While the phenomenon has died off in popularity, the creators are still upgrading the game and have added an eco-friendly option worth firing it back up on Earth Day.

As of last December, Pokemon Go still has over 20 million active daily users. That’s significantly lower than the hundreds of millions of downloads it’s racked up, but still around the same level that apps like Snapchat, Pandora, and Twitter are used. Last week, developer Niantic announced that it will upgrade the game with story missions and daily tasks.

Events are still being held frequently to keep people playing the game, and one of them is especially good for our environment. On April 22nd, Niantic is teaming up with Mission Blue and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to host various “Pokemon Go Earth Day Cleanup” events around the world. Groups will get together and pick up litter as they earn rewards playing the game.

Right now, there are 40 different sites listed on the website. Six of them are in the continental United States -- one at South San Francisco Bay Area Trail and the other five along the East Coast. An additional site is in Hawaii, and you’re out of luck if you’re in the middle of the US. Up until April 18th, people can request NGOs in their area to host the event.

Niantic’s goal is to host the most organized cleanup efforts over a 48-hour span. They’ll be unlocking rewards in the game if they can meet goals of 1,500 players and 3,000 players that are picking up trash. Those that can’t make an event can still show support on social media or they can make a donation to Mission Blue.

“Earth Day is an incredible movement and opportunity to team up with friends and neighbors to focus on making the world and our own communities healthy and sustainable,” John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, said in the announcement. Both Niantic and The Pokemon Company, who markets the product, will be making a donation to Mission Blue.

People attending the event must be 13 or older, bring an ID, and the company recommends wearing proper attire for picking up trash. What happens to trash that’s collected is based on what the NGO specializes in. Niantic hopes to release statistics on the cleanup efforts across the world when the event is completed.

Another way people can pick up trash and document their statistics is through Litterati, a mobile app also available on Android and iOS devices. Over 1.1 million pieces of trash have been tagged by the worldwide effort and taken off the streets. Nearly half of the trash in the system has been from disposed plastic and cigarette butts