By Celina Simmons
Have you ever gone for a walk or run and while enjoying the nature surroundings, you come across a pile of trash that is sitting, waiting for nobody to pick it up? Most likely, yes. Unfortunately, littering is a terrible habit for some people that only continues to worsen. A Swedish trend that is making its way to U.S. soil may be a start to tackling this issue.
“Plogging” became popular across Sweden in 2016 after rising concerns over plastic pollution. The term “plogging” is a mix between jogging and “plocka upp” which is Swedish for picking up. It’s when joggers bring along bags to collect litter and all sorts of trash on their runs.
The trend spread through most of Europe, and there are now groups in Germany, Scandinavia, Mexico, and even here in the U.S. that regularly go plogging. In Tennessee it is more commonly known as “trashercizing”. An environmental organization called “Keep America Beautiful” has started promoting plogging to achieve a trash-free community.
Frankie Ruiz in Miami led the first organized plog on Earth Day down the Miami River earlier this year. He received an amazing turnout of 500 people and offered raffle prizes to those that returned with full bags. By the end of the evening, the participants had filled an entire dumpster!
Not only does plogging have many workout pros (which we will dive into later), but it directly impacts your community. It spreads awareness around the issue of littering and just makes you feel good doing good. Laura Lindberg, a plogger in New Jersey, insists that “there is no wrong way of doing it.”
Plogging adds more of a workout to a typical jog or run. It involves bending, squatting, stretching and lifting if you collect enough! Lifesum is the first app that can log, track, and estimate how many calories you’ve burned while plogging. According to the app, one hour of the activity burns approximately 288 calories.
The effects of littering are quickly overlooked due to the convenience of it. But littering takes a bigger toll on the environment than most realize. Not only does it reduce the aesthetic appeal of the beautiful world we were blessed with, but it directly and indirectly affects the environment. If an animal is looking for food and comes across trash instead, it can potential kill that animal. Most likely, that trash is going to end up in waterways and oceans, resulting in blockages in drainage systems and flooding. If plastic decays in water, it will decrease oxygen levels, not only hurting the animals living in them but also plants that need the oxygen to grow, and potentially us, in the long run.
Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world. Approximately 4.5 trillion are discarded annually, and it takes them over five years to fully decompose. After cigarettes, plastic bags are the next most littered item, followed by glass beverage bottles.
Today, the world’s daily output of solid waste is approximately 2.12 billion tons. At that rate, our natural world stands no chance. If we take these small steps now, we may be able to change that outcome.