When Erik Ahlström moved from Åre, a ski resort town in central Sweden to Stockholm, he had a strong first impression of the capital: "Det ser ju ut som en soptipp," which translates as "It looks like a dump." Ahlström, an environmentalist, was put off by the amount of litter on the streets and in the parks, and resolved to do something about it.
Ahlström's solution is pretty outside-of-the-box: He somehow managed to organize groups of joggers--armed with garbage bags and gloves--to lope through Stockholm with him, picking up litter as they go. He calls the practice "plogging," which combines the Swedish verbs "to pick" and "to jog."
There are no English subtitles here, but you don't need them to understand what's going on:
Incredibly, it has caught on and become a downright trend. Check out #plogging on Instagram.
This dedicated fitness mom even does it while pushing her kid on a stroller, taking breaks to do inverted crunches:
The trend has also spread to France:
And to the UK:
Fitness nut Kathryn Bland in Cornwall, a dedicated plogger, also scored a paid gig cleaning a beach, where she's made quite an impact:
Bland is your average young female fitness nut on Instagram, posting photos like this:
But you have to respect that she's not afraid to get literally dirty:
Now that's hardcore.
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The video didn't allow for community supplied subtitles so here is a rough translation I made for the Core77 readers:
Hi, my name is Erik Ahlström. I have started Plogga, a grass root movement where we pick up litter and jog.
We have seen that littering has increased dramatically, 13% in Sweden in only one year. If we do nothing there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050 since 85% of all litter from land end up in the water.
- Stop! 45 minutes of plogging, how does it feel?
- Good, good. It makes a difference.
- What advice do you have? How do we make this country clean again?
- Everyone has to help out.
- It isn't harder than that, right?
Today we have been out with Tenant & partner and made a litter-free zone around their workplace.
Do you and your company also want to be environmental authors? Contact us at email@example.com
Max, thank you for this!
No trouble at all. But I just saw that I was really tired when transcribing/translating the video. In the end it should read "[...]want to be environmental heroes." Don't know what I thought of while typing that!
I have to wonder why there is so much litter in the first place. The Swedes are portrayed in the media as so progressive, why do they treat their capital like a dump? I guess they didn't grow up watching the TV commercials of the sad Native American with the single tear rolling down his cheek...
To all Swedes reading this, I apologize for the ignorance of Ross Oliver's comment.
Rain, I think Ross Oliver should come over here and form a first hand opinion of the state of our capital.
But yes, we in Sweden, as well as many other countries have a long way to go. Most countries I have visited have a problem with littering. In fact, the only country where I have been happy with seeing so little litter so far is Japan. We have a lot to learn from the Japanese people, their society and culture. Not even Singapore came close unless you stayed on Orchard street.
This is why I think initiatives like this one, Geocachings CITO (Cache In, Trash Out) or similar are needed. And we should highlight them more.