Taking the concept of ‘My Garbage, My Responsibility’ to a whole new level, plogging is aggressively becoming a fitness fad across the world. The act of picking up trash while jogging to clean up the littered streets is a sure shot sign that citizens are increasingly becoming aware of plastic pollution.
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Plogging, a portmanteau of ‘Plocka upp’ which means ‘pick up’ in Swedish and jogging, came up in 2016 in Sweden and garnered a massive response from the environmentally-conscious people and fitness lovers.
In no time, the concept spread to several countries, including India.
It was probably in 2017 that India’s first plog run took place in Delhi and, two years later, the country is all set to conduct the world’s largest pick-up-trash-while-you-jog activity.
The event organised by the NGO, United Way Bengaluru, will take place on 2 October this year across 50 cities covering 1,000 locations. The aim is to rope in 2.5 lakh citizens and further establish communities of ploggers in India.
The participants will be given gloves and trash bags necessary for the run. Several corporations and NGOs are likely to fund the event and organisations working in the field of waste management will take the onus of transporting and recycling the collected waste.
Speaking to The Better India (TBI), Ramakrishnan Ganesh, convener of Plog Run and one of the brains behind the pan-India event, says:
The multiple benefits of plogging are the reason for its instant popularity. While it is ensuring that waste management is just not the government’s job, it is also making people aware about waste segregation and the hazardous environment that plastic is capable of creating. In addition to that, it is improving the health of people.
Since it is the first time that a plog run will be organised at such a massive scale, the NGO recently conducted a trial in four cities (Pune, Delhi, Modipur and Bengaluru). It was done in collaboration with multiple corporations and close to 400 bags (2 tonnes each) worth of trash was collected.
India’s Tryst With Plogging
Though United Way’s first plog run was conducted in Nandi hills, it was on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary last year when the plog run in Bengaluru made headlines and created a wave among like-minded people across India.
As a tribute to Gandhi who staunchly believed in ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’, United Way Bengaluru teamed up with organisations like Go Native, Namma Nimma Cycle Foundation, Let’s Be The Change and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to organise the plog run last year on 2 October.
It was organised in 55 locations of the city that saw more than 7,000 people lift more than 30 tonnes of plastic waste comprising bottles, chips packet, and polythenes among others. The waste management agency Sahas collected and later recycled the waste.
People from all strata of the society including children, men, women, elderly, corporate employees to college students took part in the run. It was overwhelming for us to see so many citizens dedicating their holiday to lift garbage from the streets, something very rare in our country. Their participation resonated the willingness to make the country cleaner and greener. As littering is not restricted to just Bengaluru, we are very much looking forward to the pan-India event in October, Manish Michael, Chief Executive Officer from United Way Bengaluru tells TBI.
Since then, several plog run communities have sprung up in many cities including Pune, Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai.
Plastic, which takes a minimum of 500 years to biodegrade, is a nuisance for our society, polluting the water bodies, harming marine life, poisoning the groundwater tables to clogging the drains during monsoons leading to floods and spreading diseases.
It is high time we stepped up and said no to the toxic item. If you wish to be part of the plog run, you can register for free here.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)