Even in the middle of the pandemic, Pune Ploggers, an association of Ploggers (one who collect trash while jogging or walking) remains committed to the environment. On the occasion of the World environment day i.e. June 5, the member will plant 50 saplings of mangoes and chickoo near Dighi hills in Pune. These saplings were grown by them during the lockdown as their quarantine task.
“In the lockdown, the plogging activity was disturbed, therefore the members have utilized this time by growing saplings which were our quarantine task. The seeds were collected last year and seed balls were made during the lockdown. The plastic bags collected by us were used to grow those saplings. Since this environment day, we are unable to conduct any plogging activities, as there is restriction by the administration. Therefore, the 50 saplings of chickoo and mangoes that are ready, we will be planting them near Dighi hills on June 5 as our commitment for the environment,” said Vivek Gurav, 24 years old IT professional who had started the plogging campaign six months back in Pune. He also gave credit to his fellow members Raj Gandhi and Bhushan More for this sapling activity.
Plogging, an innovative concept involves a morning walk or jog and while doing so one can collect trash on their way. It can also be done while cycling, biking or swimming. Gurav said, “Plogging campaign started in Pune six months back and we have completed 126 drives in the city and collected around 68000 kg of trash. This campaign is also started in other cities such as Kolhapur, Chennai and Nasik. In Pune alone, we have 400 members while including all other cities there are more than 600 members who are part of this campaign.”
Gurav with his campaign hopes to address the Plastic, pollution crises and feels that conservation of biodiversity is the need of the hour, and plogging is his way to act on it. He said, “Plogging not only address environmental issues but also take care of health as there is an involvement of physical activity as well.”
These plogging drives were conducted on weekends in Pune and other cities where it has a presence with around 30 to 50 people used to participate in these drives. Gurav said, “We have tied up with various recyclers for trash managements. The glass bottles collected by us during the drive is given to a women self-help group called ‘Saarthi’ so that they can create decorative items out of it and earn some money from it. Almost 220 such bottles transformed into decorative items by these women is already sold in the market.”
The focus of plogging more on riverbanks in future
This ploggers association led by Vivek Gurav under their initiative Mission Mutha helped cleaning the river stretch near Bhide Bridge and plans to focus more on this initiative in future. He said, “After the lockdown gets over and situation normalizes, we will be focusing plogging drive more on river banks and others stretch of Mutha. Our plogging drive near river banks got a good response from the locals and therefore we want to focus more on it in future as it not only helps in cleaning trash but also helps in conserving rivers.”
Plastic Banks- an innovative concept for plastic disposal
The Pune Plogger association also started an initiative of plastic banks and pushed it during the lockdown as the regular plogging activity was hampered during the lockdown. He said, ” As plogging drive was not allowed by Corporation as a safety measure. So Plastic Bank came to our rescue, something that can be done still being indoors and helped us sensitize all the family members of our ploggers. Plastic bags or bottles are kept inside the household to collect all the plastic and in the societies; a big barrel has been kept as plastic banks. There are six societies and three government schools in Alandi where such plastic banks are kept so to ensure proper disposal of plastics. This initiative was started before lockdown but we pushed it more since the lockdown as the consumption of plastic has been increased. We had also conducted orientation sessions to educate people about how to dispose of plastic without harming the environment. Now that has become a habit for all of them to send plastic to the plastic bank.”
On the occasion of World Environment Day, theearthview celebrates the journey of eco-warriors who are working to conserve the environment. Vivek Gurav is one such eco-warrior whom we are celebrating this World Environment Day.
Cover Story by Anvita Srivastava