Monday 30 July 2018

Plogging: Swedish 'fitness craze' is up and running in Singapore (and picking up litter)

Running to keep fit?

Why not help the environment by picking up litter along the way?

That was what 12 members of the local running group Superhero Runners did yesterday morning in the Rail Corridor.

It's called plogging.

And it's from the same place that gave us Ikea and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. The word is a mash-up of “plocka upp” (Swedish for “pick up”) and jogging.

Washington Post called plogging “Sweden's latest fitness craze” and it has spread to other parts of Europe as well as the US.

It has reached Singapore too.

Yesterday’s plogging event was the first organised by the Superhero Runners.

Some armed with tongs and others with re-used plastic bags, the ploggers started at 8.15am from a clearing near the Hillview MRT station at Upper Bukit Timah Road and made their way to a bus stop opposite Beauty World Centre.

Superhero Runners co-founder Neyton Tan, 32, made it a point not to buy large black trash bags for the occasion. “We’re trying not to generate more waste”, said the training specialist at a pharmaceutical company.

After 45 minutes, they collected more than eight bags of rubbish, which were deposited in a large bin at the bus stop.

Miss Christina Leo, 30, an accountant, said: “I wasn’t surprised by the amount of trash but by the type of trash I collected.”

Apart from the usual plastic water bottles, beer cans and cigarette boxes, the haul also included an umbrella casing, outsoles of shoes and a large glass bottle.

And that was just from 2.5km of the Rail Corridor.

But can plogging go mainstream in Singapore?

Ms Anuja Aggarwal, co-founder of Secondsguru, an information portal on eco-friendly lifestyles, said: “We have seen plogging pick up in Singapore, but pure plogging, that is, jogging and picking litter at the same time can be rather hard.”

But for a Superhero Runner like Miss Leo, it’s not a problem.

She said: “I find that it’s a great way to bond, exercise and at the same time, do good for the environment.”

- Published in The New Paper, 30 July 2018