National Plog Run to make neighbourhoods plastic-free engages 28 lakh participants across India

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 IndiaThe 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.

 National Plog Run to make neighbourhoods plastic-free engages 28 lakh participants across India

Participants pose with plastic waste collected during the Bengaluru Plog Run, an initiative to pick plastic while jogging, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti at Indira Nagar on October 2, 2018 in Bengaluru, India. Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) with several other organisations started the first edition of Bengaluru Plog Run across 50 locations in the city. Getty

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.

KV Santragachi Plogging on the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji. Image: Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanghatan

KV students and teachers plogging on the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji. Image: Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanghatan

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.

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.

Plog runs in the rest of India 

Updated Date: Oct 03, 2019 15:54:14 IST