A beginner’s guide to PLOGGING


Never have I been so bang on trend as these last few days.

What I call “picking up rubbish when I go out for a run” is actually A Thing.

It’s a cool, Swedish inspired Thing and it’s called PLOGGING.

I have always tried to pick up the trash when I go out for a walk and, in the last 4 years since I started running, whenever I go for a run.

Many moons ago, when we lived on the beach in Mauritius, every morning I would walk my 3 late (& much missed) street dogs Képi, Birdey & Yoda on the beach, and I’d pick up the inevitable plastic that washed in on the tide.

I remember one day a spectacularly drunk fishermen – totally blotto at 8 o’clock in the morning, bless him – telling me I was an angel sent from heaven, for picking up the rubbish.

On the other hand, I was also abused and threatened by some horrible fishermen who used to play cards and drink on the beach outside our house.

“Put that rubbish down!” one of them shouted at me. “This is Mauritius and we don’t need a foreigner’s help.  Put it down now.”

I replied that I was more than happy to help clean up my adopted country.

“No, we Mauritians can do it” he snarled back.  He was a particularly vile sod, I remember.

OK, I decided, taking the path of least resistance.  These guys had already thrown stones at my Mauritian dogs on earlier occasions, and the dogs were getting antsy at the tone of these men.  So I put the plastic bag full of Coke bottles and lone rubber flip-flops down on the sand and beat a retreat.

I’ve been abused here in Delhi too.

“Crazy foreigner.”

“F***ing b**ch foreigner.” This from a young man drinking beer in his expensive sports car as he drove, as he threw the bottle at my feet.

I never knew rubbish had a racial hue to it, but there you go.

You live and you learn.

All of which is to say that, despite the odd ugly reaction & the almost-universal apathy from bystanders when they see you picking up rubbish, I am thrilled to discover that I am not a crazy woman, after all, but am a PLOGGER.

Meet the new trend of 2018.

And I quote:

“Hailing from Sweden, ‘plogging’ is a fitness craze that sees participants pick up plastic litter while jogging – adding a virtuous, environmentally driven element to the sport.”


“As plogging makes its way around the globe, runners are turning their jogs into plogs. All you have to do is hold onto a small bag (and maybe a pair of gloves), and you’re ready to torch calories and tidy up the planet. Many ploggers have been surprised to see just how much trash is on the ground in parks and along running trails.”

The wonderful folk in my Delhi running group immediately & unquestioningly embraced the idea of tidying up and now, after every session, whoever can spare a few minutes stays back to help clean up the park where we train.

It’s not rocket science – we run in the park, we run past trash, so it’s to our benefit that we clean it up. End of story.

One of the runners in my group, Ripu Daman, started a Facebook page for our movement as well as an Instagram feed, the idea being to motivate people and share the stories, both in terms of what needs to be done & what has been achieved.  There is nothing wrong with celebrating success. Here are the links:

I am delighted that so many of my running friends plog 🙂 but although the current concept of plogging implies a certain amount of jogging, please let’s not get tied down by definitions.

Anyone can pick up trash.


All it takes is a bag in which to put the rubbish.  And possibly a pair of gloves.

I mean, how simple is it to put a bag in your pocket automatically when you go out for a walk, or to walk the dog?

And now the idea is to spread the word, and join hands with people the world over who are fighting the rising tide of plastic that blights our cities and out countryside, and endangers our planet.

Seriously, who wants to go for a walk and see this – Lutyens Delhi, last week:

Or this?  My local Biodiversity Park, 3 days ago:

So, there you go.


Couldn’t be easier.

Go out.

Pick up.

And please, all of you, do share your photos with us.  Tag us, so we can get the word out.

Plogging.  It’s cool 🙂


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