Environment: Walk no load of rubbish

Volunteers are pledging to collect a bag of rubbish in their local community during a “Walk and Collect Weekend”, a Facebook event which is quickly gaining momentum and is expected to attract 1000 participants.

The event encourages people to for a walk in their community and collect a bag of litter during the weekend of December 7 and 8.  There are spot prizes being offered for participants.

Caroline Gray out with kids plogging at Maungamaungaroa

The event has been organised by Auckland couple Caroline and Haydn Gray who consider -themselves ‘ploggers’.  The term ‘plogging’ is used worldwide to refer to the activity of walking or jogging and collecting litter at the same time.  The word itself is a combination of the Swedish word plocka (picking up) and jogging.  As well as plogging individually, they have also introduced their children to the concept and go out collecting as a family.  “Our two boys seem to have a keen eye for spotting rubbish as well as other treasures.  My elder son once found a $20 note which has boosted his enthusiasm for collecting!”

Caroline started plogging earlier in the year following a conscious decision to clean up her neighbourhood.  “The first time I went plogging I walked six kilometres and collected five bags of rubbish.  In some ways it was disheartening discovering so much litter, but on the other hand I also felt like I’d done something rewarding.  When you start actively looking for rubbish, it’s amazing how much you will find in your local streets.”

As a warm-up to the upcoming weekend, Caroline plogged her way around Mangemangeroa Reserve last weekend aided by her children, an environment Caroline described as “remarkably litter-free.”

The event hopes that getting people out plogging will help the idea catch on in New Zealand.  “Too often we think that picking up litter is someone else’s job.  Collecting rubbish is such a simple way we can help our community, the environment and our own health and wellbeing.”