Pokemon GO developer recently Niantic recently celebrated Earth Day by hosting a very special Earth Day Cleanup event, encouraging players to get involved in the effort to clear up the planet. Taking place on April 22, successful completion of the event would also result in major rewards for the entire Pokemon GO community, including triple Stardust rewards for Ground, Water, and Grass-type Pokemon.
Pokemon GO players knew that the Earth Day Cleanup event was successful, as the rewards (which included a shiny Wailmer) have already been made available. But exactly how successful was the event? In a press release, Niantic has revealed that the event far surpassed expectations, with more than 4,200 people taking part, which is well over the 3,000 players required to unlock the triple Stardust rewards.
These 4,200+ people took part in 68 cleanup efforts in 19 countries and they managed to collect more than 6.5 tons of garbage all together. Some of the waste included plastic straws, recyclable cigarette filters, and other plastic pollution.
Since launching in summer 2016, Pokemon GO has earned a bit of reputation as an environmental menace. When rare Pokemon are in a particular area or when raids take place, players are known to flock to a location and spend a lot of time there. With so many people converging on one location, it means that there is bound to be leftover trash and an awful lot of noise. Organizers and authorities at parks and other outdoor hotspots for the game have also asked for the removal of Pokestops and Gyms in an effort to curb foot traffic.
But the Pokemon GO Earth Day Cleanup event is a clear case of how the game can do good. A big group of Pokemon GO players isn’t just useful for tackling a particularly tricky raid boss; that much manpower also comes in handy when trying to pick up the trash that’s polluting the planet.
Niantic has yet to announce plans for similar, eco-focused events, and the current focus is on the Pokemon GO Water Festival event which has added two new shiny Pokemon variants. However, in a blog post the developer does express how “impressed” it is of its playerbase base and the NGOs (non-governmental organizations) who worked together to help the environment. It also highlighted the efforts of groups like California’s Heirs to Our Oceans and the east coast’s Plastic Ocean Shore. Niantic itself seems environmentally conscious meaning that more events like this may well be on the cards even if they haven’t been announced yet.
Pokemon GO is available on Android and iOS devices.