Plogging is the new hot and environmentally friendly fitness trend which is buzzing around the world. It is a combination of jogging and picking up litter. It started as an organized activity in Sweden around 2016 and eventually spread to other countries, following increased concern about plastic pollution.

We humans are mostly concerned about our health and fitness. For this we spend thousands of rupees in gyms and fitness training centres. But we hardly care about the environment we are living in. Litter impacts our quality of life and economic development in a very negative way. It often ends up as marine debris, polluting our waterways and oceans and harming wildlife and the environment. A global study on plastics points out that 79 per cent of the total plastics produced in the world enters our environment as waste. Only 9 percent of the total plastic waste in the world is recycled. Also the amount of plastic trash that flows into the oceans every year is expected to nearly triple by 2040 to 29 million metric tons.
Aren’t these statistics surprising and worrisome? For sure they are. So how about caring for our environment along with our own self-care. Plogging is one such brilliant idea. For this all you need is a jogging outfit (running shoes and comfortable athletic clothes) and a trash bag. It is a cost-efficient way to promote environmental activism and this is something that you can do today. Plogging focuses on picking up garbage that you see on a run.

Plogging also has physical benefits, since it adds variation to a run and actually burns more calories. For example, if you do jogging for about 30 minutes then you may burn 270 calories but in plogging you can burn 330 calories in the same amount of time. So I guess it is a good deal for you as well as the environment.

Plogging can also be implemented in companies, as part of a volunteer initiative or a partnership with a local affiliate. Plogging can help build a community of people who are interested in working together to make a difference. It only costs the price of some trash bags, gloves, and your spare time. Ripu Daman Bevli, introduced the concept of plogging in India and he is known as the Plogman of India. Till March 2021, Bevli has organized more than 500 clean-ups across 80 cities under the Litter Free India movement, which has seen a participation of close to 1 crore people.

Pune Ploggers founded by Vivek Gurav is the largest community of ploggers in a single city with more than 500 routine ploggers throughout Pune, and has collected more than 40,000 kilograms of plastic. In December 2019 the organization coordinated the largest plogging drive, with 105,000 people involved who collected 19,000 kilograms of trash in one hour. Similarly, Jo Stevens, who manages JogScotland, also favours the new trend. He says “For people who jog regularly it’s great to introduce a bit of variety into your sessions. This looks like a good way of doing something different, which benefits the community. Quite a few joggers already take it on themselves to pick up litter when they see it in their running spots. Having a whole group of joggers doing this regularly could make a real difference to parks, paths, and pavements.”

A non-profit initiative called Go Plog has collected 16 Tonnes of dry waste in Kolar (a city in the Indian state of Karnataka) through plogging. They organise an event every month. Students to high-ranking officials of the local administration participate.

Also plogging can help reduce social costs. In 2015, the costs of cleaning public spaces from litter decreased by around Rs 200 crore in Sweden. Imagine how that money could be used to address more urgent issues. Collective efforts like plogging that help keep public spaces clean indirectly save the city’s cost.

So it’s high time that we should be concerned for our environment and work for this cause. Plogging is an awesome idea which should be adopted by people as part of their daily routine and lifestyle so that we can contribute to making our environment a better place to live.

- By Yashu Gupta
Content Editor
Social Journal