Plogging Your Way to a Cleaner, Healthier City

6 min readNov 1, 2021

By Meghan Hayden

Nothing is More Refreshing Than a Morning Jog (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Nothing is more refreshing than a morning jog. But if your city isn’t clean, the impact of jogging might, unfortunately, be the opposite. The popularity of jogging has led to an increased awareness of environmental wellness. Now, when people walk in the morning or go for a run, they do more than just detox their body. They have begun to clean the city as well. This phenomenon of jogging and picking up trash on the way is called plogging. Here’s all you need to know and more.

The word “plogging” is a combination of “jogging” and the Swedish phrase “plocka up” which means “pick up.” It originated in Sweden when Erik Ahlström began tidying up the area he passed while commuting to work. He noticed how the garbage would lay there for days, and decided to take the initiative to clean it up. It became a part of his routine. He would do it every day during his regular running exercise. The people of Sweden soon began copying him, and it spread far beyond their country. As old as 2016, plogging has been a worldwide trend. The ploggers come prepared, armed with gloves and a trash bag to help clean their city. It’s about time the people began picking up trash instead of carelessly throwing it around.

Social media spread this ingenious idea like wildfire, and now, over one hundred countries have groups of ploggers who run every day and take part in a global waste disposal movement. Trash hauls have erupted over the internet with people proudly displaying the before and after effects of plogging and cleaning the environment. Germany, India, Australia, and the US followed Sweden’s lead, and have now added plogging as an important part of affirmative action in improving environmental health. Plogging produces a positive impact on the environment as well as the people who participate, as they feel like they’ve done something productive. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone; you get the physical benefits, and in turn, give something back to the environment you breathe in.

How Plogging Turns an Ordinary Workout Into a ‘Treasure Hunt’ | PBS NewsHour

So the meaning of plogging is simple: picking up trash while jogging. The only supplies you need are a trash bag and a pair of gloves. It’s an appealing way to get back on track, build a jogging habit, and also play your role in cleaning the environment. If there are no ploggers in your city, be the first one! The movement began with one individual, after all.

If you are still wondering about how plogging works, here is a short Youtube video showing people plogging in the city.

How to Help the Environment: Clean Your City

You don’t have to be a professional or habitual runner to join the plogging movement. While the majority of the early ploggers like Ahlström were runners, people from all backgrounds and of all ages have adopted it as well. It’s so easy, anyone can do it. Simply take a walk around your neighborhood and pick up any trash you find in the way. Involve your kids so they too can learn the importance of a clean environment. Plogging doesn’t have to be boring. You can also set a time with your friends and neighbors to begin, and spend some quality time burning a few calories and cleaning the city.

Clean Your City (Image Source: Shutterstock)

The diverse range of muscle activity that plogging demands will increase the physical benefits you reap from running. You have to bend to pick up the waste, twist, and turn to get it out of the bushes. These small changes in energy expenditure make running less boring and straining. You can add a few stretches and bicep curls too while you’re at it. A combination of running and other exercises is a great way to increase your immunity. Not to mention how clean your city will look after the magic of plogging takes over. No more plastics hiding in places where flowers should be growing.

Greener, cleaner cities are the need of the hour. And you can help your hometown achieve that by plogging. You can go solo or join a team, or even make a team. Find out where the waste disposal bins are located and how you can efficiently place the garbage where it needs to be. You can learn more about what environmental wellness is, what it comprises, and how your city plans to strive toward it by checking its local laws and programs.

The Importance of a Clean Environment

Ploggers are deeply concerned about the negative impact of plastic on the environment. They find a lot of weird things while plogging, but the most common trash is plastic. It takes years to decompose and is one of the leading sources of environmental pollution. Burning it releases toxic fumes. So its disposal is a big problem. Plastics offer a lot of benefits to society, but at what cost?

The chemicals in products made of plastic can cause major health hazards to humans and to wildlife. It consumes vast amounts of oil and energy to produce, which could be spent more wisely on sustainable materials. You can ignore plastic, but the plastic won’t ignore you. It’s everywhere, in our food and in the air. You can help get rid of it by living a greener lifestyle and taking active steps to ensure the cleanliness of the environment in your city.

What is the Importance of a Clean Environment? (Image Source: Shutterstock)

The Earth is dying. Initiatives like plogging may seem like small, unnecessary inconveniences, but the truth is, our planet needs it. Since humans have ignored the damaging effects of plastics for decades, we are now witnessing its impact. Climate change is destroying animals, plants, and humans. Toxins have spread over the entire globe, and diseases have erupted because of them. People picking up trash and putting it where it belongs might seem useless on the surface, but it can change everything.

If you live in a filthy environment, you will have a higher risk of developing infectious diseases. Seeing dirt and trash first thing in the morning will also destroy your mood. Don’t be surprised if you feel gloomy after moving into a dirty neighborhood. Turning a blind eye to this will only make you insensitive and depressed. Positive actions are contagious and so are negative ones.


Plogging is an eco-friendly movement that involves picking up trash while jogging or running. It has gained immense popularity over the years and has spread from one person to one hundred and more countries. It’s an easy and fun way to contribute to a cleaner environment and is suitable for everyone. There is no complex equipment involved. Take this as your sign to join the healthier environment initiative and protect your city from diseases. Besides the environmental benefits, it also offers a wide range of mental and physical ones. Plogging is a small act with immense positive impact. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

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