During his morning walk on a beach in Mamallapuram on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen picking up plastic litter, bottles and other items. In a tweet shortly after, Modi announced: “Plogging at a beach in Mamallapuram. It lasted for over 30 minutes.”
‘Plogging’ is a combination word formed from ‘jogging’ and ‘plocka upp’, which is Swedish for ‘pick up’. It refers to an emerging international trend, in which someone picks up trash while jogging or brisk walking as a way of cleaning up litter while also taking care of fitness.
The trend was started in Sweden by Erik Ahlström in 2016. During his commute to work, Ahlström would frequently come across litter that would remain on the streets for weeks without anyone picking it up. This prompted him to pick up the trash during his commute and dispose of it. Eventually, he included the clean-up in his daily running and exercise routine.
Thanks to social media and word of mouth, it has gradually turned into an international movement involving both fitness and environmental enthusiasts. Several groups have popped up across Europe, the US, South America, Asia and Africa. In India, the government organised the Fit India Plog Run on October 2, as part of the Fit India Movement launched by the Prime Minister on August 29. In his Mann Ki Baat address on September 29, PM Modi urged people to start plogging for a litter-free India.
According to Ahlström, plogging for half an hour will burn at least 288 calories on an average as compared to 235 calories from regular jogging.