Tinkle Meets a Dash
Tinkle Meets a Plogger
Writer: Devika Soni
Illustrator: Narendra Pardhi


3 July is celebrated as International Plastic Bag Free Day. This day is observed to raise awareness of the harmful effects of plastic. Across the world, people have taken measures to reduce plastic pollution and protect the environment. One such measure is a movement called plogging.

What is plogging?

It is an eco-friendly exercise started in Sweden by Erik Ahlström in 2016. Ploggers started collecting trash while jogging or brisk walking to take care of their health and the environment.

Soon after, plogging came to India with Jacob Cherian. Tinkle got in touch with this environmental superhero to learn more about this fun activity.

Q. Are you a full-time plogger, or is that a weekend activity?

Initially, it started as a hobby. I started by cleaning a forest behind my house in Kodaikanal with my friends and family. One day, someone told me about plogging on a social media platform and how that’s exactly what we did in the forest! This post was shared by many people who started asking about the next event. So we set up a plogging party with 25-30 participants who came to Kodaikanal. They camped in the forest, and we got food from local restaurants and gloves from local stores, and it was a great experience. After that, I helped create a model where communities could take care of their neighbourhoods through plogging.

A year later, I taught about 1,000 children in Delhi how to go plogging and protect their environment.

Now, we, at TerreGeneration.com, are eight people who love the environment and are very passionate about plogging, but we all have full-time jobs working for the environment too.

Q. Growing up, did you always try to keep your surroundings clean?

When I was about 10 or 11, I came across a cartoon called Captain Planet. It was a show about a group of kids who came together to protect the environment and it really influenced me.

Q. Can we go plogging in the city? Any tips on waste management?

You can go plogging in cities but always ask a helpful adult to accompany you and make a small clean-up crew with your friends. Together you can identify a spot you can take care of regularly for a long time. You can go plogging in that area either once a week or once a month.

You must wear good quality, heavy gloves, not thin surgical ones. These will protect you from broken glass and other garbage. It also helps to carry a long stick. Sometimes, snakes or rats can make homes inside these piles, and it is safer to poke the pile and before segregating. You can then separate the trash into clean plastic (such as empty water bottles, soda bottles, etc), dirty plastic (such as food containers), cloth, medical waste, metal, and glass. You can carry three large bags for plastic (clean and dirty), one bag for metal and glass, and one bag for medical waste.

Q. How can we convince our friends to go plogging with us?

Ask your friends if they’re interested in competing with you! Gather your clean-up crew and set a challenge for everyone. Find out who can segregate the waste in the best way. If you want to take this a step further, you can note how many different brand products you find in your garbage pile. This will help you understand the kind of products we consume and what we do with the waste. You can even arrange all this garbage by colour and share pictures on your social media channels to invite more friends.

Q. Does it really make a difference to clean up our neighbourhood?

It does. Did you know that most empty food packets lying on the road have salt stuck to the plastic? Animals like cows and goats like this salt and they eat this plastic. It is very harmful to them. And when it rains, all the garbage lying around gets washed into the rivers and ocean. All the sea animals end up eating that garbage.

Q. What does plogging mean to you?

It is a way of keeping the environment clean and our bodies healthy. This isn’t just a clean-up drive. Here, we’re jogging and collecting garbage.

Q. In your journey of plogging, what are you most proud of?

I am really proud of the people I’ve met along the way. They are all very motivated, kind-hearted and caring. I’ve also been fortunate to have met almost 5,000 people who care about the environment.

Q. Do you have a message for our readers?

If there is anything you’re passionate about, keep at it. But don’t do the same thing over and over again. Try to do something new every single time. For example, if you take up plogging, you must do something new every time you go out for a clean-up. First, you can try to convince your parents to join you. Next, you can ask your extended family. After that, convince your friends to start a clean-up crew with you. Just cross one hurdle at a time and you will see big communities joining your initiative.

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