Have you seen photos of runners picking up trash on your Social Network Services (SNS) lately? This is the result of people participating in a "Plogging Campaign". Plogging comes from the Swedish word ‘plocka upp’, which means gathering grains, and ‘jogging'. It is the act of jogging while picking up trash. Runners can pick up about 10-12kg of trash per hour, which is really helping the environment. And because it consumes more calories than regular running, it is also great for your health. Plogging was invented in Sweden in 2016 and quickly spread to northern Europe before it was seen all around the world. Currently, provinces and prominent businesses in South Korea are also getting in on the fun, hosting the environmentally friendly runs and encouraging many people to participate in the campaign to clean up our communities while getting fit, by posting videos and photos to social media.
|▲ Eco-plogging challenge poster. (Photo from Andar)|
Plogging is an environmentally friendly activity. A lot of trash is dumped carelessly on the ground. In the case of plastic, which is often used for disposable products, it does not decay in nature even after hundreds of years, and it is hard to recycle. Many people often live without being aware of environmental pollution and trash. But the plogging campaign raises interest in environmental issues and encourages people to be more thoughtful when they throw away trash.
Plogging is also good for your health. People are always trying to find creative ways to build and maintain healthy bodies. Plogging helps people burn calories more efficiently than simple walking and running exercises. According to the Swedish fitness application ‘Life Island’, a runner burns 235 kcal while jogging for 30 minutes, but 288 kcal while plogging. This is because picking up trash is like doing a squat and because the body is moving continuously. In addition, the heavier the garbage bag gets, the higher the intensity of the exercise, which is more effective in burning calories. Being outdoors also helps people feel refreshed, especially for those suffering from cabin fever due to COVID-19 isolation.
So how do you get involved? Well plogging requires a bag to hold the garbage you collect, gloves to protect hands, comfortable clothes, sneakers, and a mask. Here are some examples of plogging events in Korea. “2020 Untact Hey, Plogging,” is an eco-friendly running event hosted by the Swedish car company Volvo. The first run was held in October last year, with about 400 people attending. Participants in their 20s and 30s gathered together to run, network and encourage others to participate in environmental protection during their daily lives. In another event that took place earlier this year in May, the womenswear brand 'Andar' sponsored a plogging run around Nodeul Island in Seoul. Jeju Island also got in on the fun, hosting runs in Gotgurioreum, Jocheon-eup, Jeju-do. As the number of tourists to Jeju Island has increased, the garbage problem has worsened, so a lot of attention was paid to local plogging runs.
Plogging is gaining tremendous popularity both at home and around the world. Swedish people see it as a fun way to protect the environment while exercising and are proud to see it spread globally. The French host a plogging marathon, and in Japan, a garbage collection contest called Spogomi is held every year. Spogomi is a combination of the words sport and “gomi” or trash in Japanese. The winner of the competition is the person who collects the most trash in a limited time. In addition, Japan adopted plogging as an unofficial sport for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which has since been postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19.
|▲ “2020 Untact Hey, Plogging,” an eco-friendly running event, is hosted by the Swedish car company Volvo. (Photo from Volvo)|
In 2020, we can no longer afford to ignore the impact we have on our environment. Instead we must find creative ways to raise awareness and have a positive impact on the environment in our communities. How about giving plogging a try in your neighbourhood? Your community, the environment and your own health will be better off for your contribution to the cause.
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