National Plog Run to make neighbourhoods plastic-free engages 28 lakh participants across India
Since the first plogging event in 2016, the Swedish fitness trend has grown immensely in popularity around the world.
On 2 October, a first-of-its-kind national initiative called the India Plog Run 2019 was held, aiming to combat the growing threat from plastic pollution by including the most powerful stakeholders in environmental conservation: citizens.
Over 28 lakh people participated in the "Fit India Plog Run", which was flagged off by Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju at the Indira Gandhi Stadium on 2 October.
The Plog Run was made possible with big names including FICCI, CII, PhD Chambers, Assocham, and other national players in health, industry and the government to highlight the need to bring down plastic consumption and compel healthier waste management practices. Among the firms that funded and managed the event are the United Way India, Go Native, Art of Living, Earth Day Network Daan, Utsav, Swachh Bharat Mission, Airbnb, FabHotels, PepsiCo, Hasiru Dala Innovations and WWF.
The Plog Run integrates three earlier programs introduced by the central government — Fit India, Clean India and Plastic-free India. The Run also to coincided with Gandhi Jayanti (Bapu's 150th birth anniversary) and five years of the Swachh Bharath Abhiyan, and was held in over 50 cities across India.
In 2018, the Bengaluru edition of the Plog Run led to 33.4 tons of plastic waste collected by 7000+ participants in under 12 hours. This subsequently led to the entry of the Bengaluru Plog Run into the Guinness Book of World Records.
"It is in the power of community that true transformation lies. Under the aegis of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, we hope to use plogging as a community activity that combines inherent health benefits with a larger purpose of mobilising the community for the greater good," says the event's official website.
The Run this year saw far more participation. Over 21,000 participants ran to clean up Noida, over 1,500 in the national capital and some 41,131 regional Fit India events were organised by the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and the National Service Scheme (NSS). Five lakh students and 1.25 lakh parents also reportedly participated in the plog run via a partnership with Kendriya Vidyalaya.
What is plogging?
Plogging gets its name from the meeting of the Swedish word "plokka upp", which roughly translates into "pick up", and jogging. People jogged/walked and gathered plastic waste in an established route in the participant's choice of the locality.
Considered an unofficial 'sport', the plogging trend has grown popular in recent years as awareness of plastic pollution grows with it. Plogging involves jogging while picking up plastic and polluting objects from streets and pavements. The first plogging event on record was in 2016 in Sweden, after which the trend has grown immensely in popularity.
Fitness and cleanliness are the two sides of the same coin, in the words of Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijuju. Plogging insures fitness for individuals and cleanliness for nations, he said in an interview.
Plogging in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai
In keeping with the push for environmentalism and conservation over the past, Delhi Police organised the 'Plog Run' in Delhi near the Yamuna river bed at Geeta Colony.
@DelhiPolice is organising a Plog Run on 2nd October at Geeta Colony Turn near Vijay Ghat along with @unitedway_delhi. Hon'ble @LtGovDelhi will be the Chief Guest and flag off the Plog Run. #ShantiSewaNyaypic.twitter.com/8eZvLxITjQ
— DCP North Delhi (@DcpNorthDelhi) October 1, 2019
— DCP North Delhi (@DcpNorthDelhi) October 2, 2019
#UnitedWay #PloggingRun kicks off with resounding determination across the country. Come let's detox India, plogging and bidding farewell to single-use plastic this Gandhi Jayanti. Locations in Hyderabad Somajiguda, Lakdikapool, Gachibowli #IndiaBeatsPlastic #IamLessPlastic pic.twitter.com/CS8e6MThAY
— United Way of Hyd (@unitedwayhyd) October 2, 2019
Several other innovative initiatives have been taken up. NDMC has put up a stall where old garments can be converted into cloth bags of various sizes at a very nominal price. This stall will remain in the lawn in front of India Gate till 4th October 2019. pic.twitter.com/vrzWknZaHA
— Durga Shanker Mishra (@Secretary_MoHUA) October 2, 2019
In Bengaluru, the Run was a raging success, with 7.5 tons of plastic waste collected by ploggers from 43 areas in the city. The huge haul was handed over to Bengaluru’s local civic body, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Along with several residential neighbourhoods, many plog runners also extended their efforts to 17 lakes in the city, including Iblur, Mahadevpura and Dasarahalli among others.
As a part of #SwachhtaHiSewa campaign,EPFO regional offices Bangalore Central and Malleshwaram conducted a Plog Run 2019 on 02.10.2019 at Cubbon Park, Bangalore on the occassion of 150th Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti#EPFO#swachhtadiwas#SwachhBharat pic.twitter.com/NjIlhLeUvt — EPFO (@socialepfo) October 3, 2019
A mass cleanliness drive was organised at Versova Beach in Mumbai to clear the surroundings of garbage & unnecessary waste.#SwachhBharat #MyCleanIndia #MakingCitiesPlasticFree pic.twitter.com/yiaVloLQfY — Swachh Bharat Urban (@SwachhBharatGov) September 26, 2019
Plog runs in the rest of India
#150yearsofmahatma : “The Best Way To Find Yourself Is To Lose Yourself In The Service Of Others”#NYKGarhwa: Plogging Run Inaugrated by J.K Mishra, CO Garhwa, Mr. Shailendar Pathak, Olympic Association President and UNV- DYC Nyks Garhwa. #SwachhBharat #FitIndia pic.twitter.com/3YBnk2jc2K — UNV India (@UNV_India) October 2, 2019
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