‘Plogging’ – a combination of jogging and picking up litter. What started off as an organized activity is Sweden, slowly took over the world. So, there’s no doubt that it’d eventually make its way to India, but in our country, it’s implemented a little differently.
‘Plogging Party’ is an open event model designed to clean public spaces by ensuring the participating citizens have fun. The volunteers get rewarded with food and drinks after they pick the littered waste from the selected spot. Additionally, sponsors receive marketing content in exchange of their funds.
Founder Jacob Cherian first took a stab at this in the hope that the bison on a nearby hill didn’t die by consuming plastic waste. “What people don’t understand is, when animals consume this plastic waste, they think they’re full. But they never get the right nutrients and thus they die of starvation.” A Kodaikanal resident, Jacob was starting to notice that people weren’t willing to simply collect waste. This led him to start Plogging Party in the hope that the ‘fun’ and celebratory’ aspect of the movement would incentivise people. And it surely did!
Since March 2018, there have been 30 Plogging Parties across the country. Over 2,500 volunteers and 25 sponsoring brands have participated in cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Mysore, Kochi and more. This simple venture is instilling environmental awareness among people as they have fun. In fact, Jacob makes sure that whenever he travels to a new place, he takes couple of hours out of his tour and organizes a Plogging Party.
But Jacob feels this is not enough, “We are overtly optimistic about ‘sustainability’ these days. It’d have been fair to use these terms in the 60s and 70s, but now, it’s time for regenerative action. Which essentially means we need to fix things. One simple clean-up can’t compensate for our entire past.” Jacob hopes that clean-up concepts like Plogging Party reaches the masses through the likes of Bollywood stars. He feels that a 12 week clean up drive, with people across India dedicating 2 hours to clean up the area around them, would make a substantial change. He also encourages people to implement an eco-friendly lifestyle in their daily lives, with the likes of ‘No Meat Mondays’ and ‘Public Transport Tuesdays’
Well, the hope remains. Till then, if you ever feel an area around you is a bit too dirty, throw a Plogging Party and have a ball!
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