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‘Pokémon Go’ is gamifying garbage and wants your help on Earth Day

Pokémon Go may have just found a way to gamify garbage collection. In honor of Earth Day, which will be observed on April 22, Niantic, the developer behind the popular Pokémon game, has revealed that it is leveraging its impressive powers of assembly in order to help save the planet, one piece of litter at a time. Thanks to a series of partnerships with local non-governmental organizations across the world, Niantic will be able to get players to pick up trash. And the more people who engage in this altruistic behavior, the greater their potential in-game rewards.

“All trainers will receive access to a special avatar item to celebrate Earth Day and those who work together to participate in the cleanups around the world will unlock unique in-game rewards for the entire world,” Niantic explained. “If 1,500 trainers attend the events around the world, 2x catch stardust for ground, water, and grass-type pokémon will be unlocked for 48 hours. If more than 3,000 trainers participate in the cleanup events, 3x catch stardust for ground, water, and grass-type pokémon for 48 hours will be unlocked for trainers around the world.” That is to say, if you have fellow Pokémon Go fans in your life, you’ll want to incentivize them to help you clean up your neighborhood.

As it stands, Niantic has a list of 37 total events taking place across 12 different countries. In order to sign up for a cleanup event, you need only to visit Pokémon Go’s Earth Day Cleanup page. We should point out that these events are not exactly located in central locations — only one is taking place in a major city: San Francisco and its event is at capacity. Meanwhile, there are six located throughout North Carolina.

As a whole, the events are slated to last for about two hours, but Niantic has suggested that you look into the specific times for the event you’re most interested in. Although you will certainly want to start your children on an eco-friendly path at a young age, the developer has noted that the events are open exclusively to folks aged 13 and older.

“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,” Niantic CEO John Hanke said in a statement. So if you’re looking for a good thing to do this Earth Day, Pokémon Go may just provide you with an unexpected bit of fun.

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Lulu Chang
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