'Pune Ploggers' for a Plastic Free Pune

July 5th , 2020 | Kaustubh Farfad

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A community of environmentally conscious citizens

Meet 24-year-old Vivek Gurav, a software engineer by profession, who initiated plogging in Pune in June 2019 and now runs Pune Ploggers, a community of environmentally conscious citizens dedicated to cleaning the city.

I always feel the need to work on the ground instead of just blaming the system and government through social media. Change needs participation and I’m trying to be the change-maker”, says 24-year-old Vivek Gurav, a software engineer by profession who along with his friends and colleagues made it their mission to clean up the city.

Plogging: Pick and Jog!

Vivek who has been participating and conducting various clean-up and beautification drives in and around Pune for the last six years decided to undertake plogging and make Pune plastic-free and a sustainable place to live in. 

Plogging a concept originated in Sweden

Plogging, is a concept that was originally introduced in Sweden, refers to picking up trash while jogging or running. When you squat to pick up plastic waste while running, you are exercising every bit of the body, it is like instead of hitting a gymnasium, you are working towards creating a better environment and also getting the best effect of working out.

You do not have to set a separate plan to do it and can be a part of any routine activity you do on the streets. Multitasking – is the KEY and it saves time!

With a quest to solve the trash problem, in June 2019, Vivek along with his few techie friends undertook 10 plogging drives on a pilot basis. During this initiative, the team observed that it was fun to pick up waste while you jog or run unlike usual clean-up drives which are often dull affairs. Contended with the citizen participation and outcome of plogging drives, in September 2019, Vivek officially launched Pune Ploggers.

Pune Ploggers and the basic idea of plogging was an attraction for many citizens, thanks to the flash floods (heavy rainfall) which affected many slums and societies. Water wasnt flowing through the drainages as they were being blocked by plastic and alcohol bottles filled with silt and mud.

125 drives and counting

They fix the spots for upcoming plogging runs in advance and create events on their social media handles. People who wish to join can register or join them directly on spot.

Different areas in the city are covered every week to reach out to a larger audience. Vivek has personally traveled to places where people need a basic orientation to start a plogging movement on their own. They have teams in different cities like Dehradun, Mumbai, and Kolhapur and are connecting Ploggers from different cities now and trying to come up with simultaneous Plogging Runs to raise awareness about Health and Plastic Pollution Crisis. 

Impact till date.

Pune Ploggers has completed 125 plogging drives. They have a collaboration with Local Trash Collectors and Pune Municipal Corporation Solid Waste Management department who have been helping them in recycling the plastic collected. Other waste is sent for composting and further treatment. Pune Ploggers has collected over 70,000 kg Plastic till now which itself is a huge collection.

Their efforts were recognized by the Embassy of Sweden in India, Mann Ki Baat Team, Pune Municipal Corporation, All India Radio ( Akashwani)-Pune and many other media channels.

Vivek wishes this becomes a collective effort of all the stakeholders and turns into a mass movement with public participation.

The author of the story is Kaustubh Farfad and you can reach out to them  at vcgurav@gmail.com

InwasteR is only a platform to share WStory and the views and experience are purely of the author.

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