Aristotle said that virtue is not an act, but a habit. Many of the changes we want to promote in our lives, whether individually or collectively, begin with a sporadic act, but if we don’t repeat it every day until we adopt it as a habit That is, no deviation from the norm would be possible in the form of a new form of conduct. A good example of this is the purpose pursued by plogging, a practice that combines sport with caring for the environment through waste collection.
The concept was born in Stockholm (Sweden) in 2016 by Erik Ahlström, many years ambassador of the Salomon brand. The founder of plogging began collecting trash while jogging in the Swedish capital and created the website “Plogga” to encourage his activity. Soon, its popularity skyrocketed and the incident went viral through social networks. The word is a combination of two words: plauka up (pick up in Swedish) and running (run in English).
diversity of practices
no need to run; Can be combined with any type of sporting activity
This activity has been expanded to such an extent that today it is being practiced in more than a hundred countries including ours. Oscar Caro, founder and CEO of Project Plogging Tour, promoted by Eleven and the Blue Life Foundation, assures that plogging is “here to stay”, as more and more people are taking part in its activities. This entity organizes popular races in different cities of Spain such as Barcelona, Ibiza, Teruel, Malaga or Madrid, the essence of which is that participants collect trash while running.
It should be added that on October 9 the third edition of the Nationale-Nederland Plogging Tour was launched in Spain, in the Ses Salines Natural Park on the island of Ibiza, together with the Tourism Strategy Agency of the Government of the Balearic Islands AETIB, whose May 28, 2023 has already booked a stay in Barcelona.
However, plogging is becoming more and more versatile and can be combined with any type of sporting activity. Oscar Caro confirmed that they want to “change” the idea that it is only related to running, which has allowed them to do not only land sports but also water sports. “In Zaragoza we have collected trash with kayaks and canoes, and in Teruel we have done activities with mountain bikes,” he says.
pollution in the oceans
According to the United Nations, plastic represents 85% of the waste that reaches the oceans
A good example of the diversity of sports practices involved in plogging are Julio and Dulce, a married couple who have participated in two editions of the Plogging Tour in Barcelona. They do this by walking, as they usually do not play sports very often. He assures that he learned about this practice in 2019 thanks to social networks and since then he has not stopped doing it. “We have great environmental awareness,” he says. Likewise, both believe that such actions are necessary to give a second life to items that were already in landfills. Dulce, in fact, in her spare time, transforms some of the recovered waste into sculptures.
However, it is true that such movements allow us to discover a helpful and humane part of a large part of society, they also bring to the fore the other side of the coin: irresponsibility and stupidity. Plastic represents 85% of the waste reaching the oceans, according to United Nations Organization (UN) statistics and warns that, by 2040, the amount will triple with an annual amount between 23 and 37 million tonnes. This means around 50 kg of plastic per meter of beach worldwide. Overall, half of the plastics produced are designed to be used once and then thrown away.
The solution is to generate a blue and circular economy
Faced with this reality, Oscar Caro says that the solution is to generate a blue and circular economy in addition to recycling and reusing. He says, “It’s not that you say the world is full of plastic, but the food I eat is full of plastic. When you see it in person, that’s when you start waking up.”
Roger Melisor, a 34-year-old plogger from Badlona and a sports fan, is also concerned about the drift the world has been in for decades. His house has solar panels and he often meets friends to practice plogging. “I want to leave as little environmental footprint as possible,” he says. Roger also defends that this is an issue that concerns both rich and poor countries; Some because of a change in conscience and thought, and others because their environment is dirty and there is no favorable law.
Physical Benefits of Plogging
30 minutes of exercise can burn around 300 calories
Ploggers claim you can burn about 300 calories with 30 minutes of exercise, as you combine running with squats every time you pick up a piece of trash. In addition, it is suitable for all ages and all levels. Eva Montes, 42, practices it with her husband and two children aged 4 and 7. “It’s a fun activity and the kids are learning,” he says.
In a changing world like ours, in which we must tackle the energy transition without delay, plogging is starting to become a strong youth movement. It is believed that more than 20,000 people practice it daily around the world and this number is increasing.