Joggers clear trash in Calcutta and townships
Around 350 men and women in fluorescent orange aprons ran through some of the city streets on Wednesday morning, picking trash along the way and drawing puzzled and admiring glances from passers-by.
The ploggers — people who pick up rubbish while jogging — were split into three groups, each running close to 3km around Park Street and in Salt Lake and New Town.
The Calcutta chapter of the India Plog Run was organised by the United Way of India and Go Native, both charitable organisations, to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and create awareness about plastic pollution.
Employees of several firms took part in the run.
Plogging had started in 2016 as a group activity in Sweden, where the plastic bag was invented, and has spread all over the world.
Dipanwita Das, the regional director of United Way India in Calcutta, said the run had been organised to raise awareness about the dangers plastic posed to the environment and remove plastic and other waste from streets.
“India Plog Run is a community-driven awareness activity on plastic pollution plaguing the country,” said Das. Every plogger, she said, was given a bag and a pair of gloves to collect the trash.
The participants, she said, did not hesitate to pick up plastic bags, trays and cups that had spilled out of garbage vats.
Shikha Bhattacharya, who works for a telecom giant, plogs every time there is a run the city. On Wednesday she took part in the event with her husband Sourav and daughter Risha, who studies in Class IX at Sushila Birla Girls’ School.
Shikha said they ran and plogged through Park Street, Royd Street and Nonapukur. Passers-by, including motorists, craned their necks to see what they were up to.
“We told several men who were staring at us to join us. While most were reluctant, some actually did,” she said.
Kankurgachi resident Amit Pidwania, 35, who had participated in marathons, was plogging for the first time. “It was a very fulfilling experience and physically challenging. We had to bend every time we spotted trash on the road,” he said.
Apart from Calcutta, runners in at least 40 other cities across the country plogged on Wednesday morning, Das said.
United Way India will also conduct workshops and various other activities to spread awareness about plastic.