Software Engineer Collects Waste 

software engineer collects waste
Did you know that a student from India got a prize from the Prime Minister of U.K for carrying out the international “plogging” movement?

What do you think inspires someone to move out of their comfort zone and do something for the community?

What motivates them to bring a change?

With more than 10,000 volunteers worldwide, Vivek Gurav, started his plogging effort in India back in 2014. Since then, he has expanded his operation to the streets of England.

Plogging, in which participants run for pleasure and collect garbage, promises to slow global warming. Their motto is “one piece of plastic at a time.”

However, how did he start? Let’s look at his journey from the beginning.

Here is a tale of a movement that is sweeping Pune’s streets.

What is Plogging?

Image Credit: Wikipedia
Plogging = “to pick up” + “jogging”

Vivek Gurav, a native of Jaysinghpura, a little-known town in Maharashtra, and an advocate of active cleaning started the community plogging campaign in Pune in 2019. His friends joined him in resolving the city’s plastic issue. They are a community of common heroes who make the most of their free time by doing things that benefit the planet.

Who is Vivek Gurav?

Vivek—a Global Youth Ambassador—started this project. In his college years, he used to volunteer in cleaning the dirty waters of river Indrayani. He found great joy in doing so, which finally inspired him to launch this plogging initiative.

According to Vivek Gurav, who left his IT job to fight climate change, “Plogging is not about selecting rubbish.” It is about encouraging people to jog while picking up trash.

Hence, you hit two birds in a single shot- you take care of your health, as well as, of your surroundings.

Vivek moved to the city in 2013 to finish his bachelor’s degree in computer engineering at the MIT Academy of engineering in Alandi. After viewing the polluted waterways in Pune, he decided to clean the river Indrayani.

dirty river indryani
Image Credit: Indian Express

He was motivated by the same campaign in Sweden. He began systematically gathering plastic waste brutally thrown on the streets as he was out for his regular jog.

The vision of plogging was already blazing in his mind. Still, the 2019 flooding in Pune, partially brought on by drains clogged by plastic bottles and other waste, gave it even more fuel.

After cleaning the riverbank daily, he felt the initiative required a unique approach to deal with plastic waste. As a result, he launched the “Plogging Operation” in 2019 and invited residents to team up with him.

As more of his friends and coworkers at the office began to join him, this practice gained popularity.

Over 28 Indian towns have joined the largest plogging community in the globe.

Think Big Postgraduate Scholarship

Going further, Vivek was granted the chance to study M.Sc. in Environmental Policy and Management with the Think Big Postgraduate Scholarship. He was honored by the University of Bristol in the UK for his climate change science and policy making work.

He cleans up rubbish from the roads whenever possible because he feels that being in Britain doesn’t change the reality that waste is a problem. Gurav popularized “plogging” in England by motivating joggers to pick up trash as they go.

Pune Ploggers

pune ploggers group
Image Credit: Whatshot

Picking up trash and placing it in its proper location is only one example of a little, random act of compassion that will have a significant influence on society. These impromptu acts of empathy can even cause a chain reaction. The best part is that making a good influence doesn’t need much thinking or preparation.

Join Pune Ploggers group to keep your neighborhood clean. Volunteer with your time to support these Next-door Heroes. They only request help with picking up garbage while jogging. Even though they are all small gestures, they can have a big influence on the neighborhood.

The elderly and young professionals have shown a strong interest in exercise. Volunteering in the Pune Ploggers is a great way to break the monotony of everyday life. They communicate via social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, lending even more support to the idea of a plastic-free and litter-free city.

Many corporations generously support these volunteers’ costs of masks, gloves, and other protection. The PMC, or Pune Municipal Corporation, collects the trash that the ploggers collect and reuses it through SWACCH, another NGO.

SWACCH is a non-profit organization primarily run by rural women who sort through waste and promote recycling.

They have accumulated over 4000 kilos of rubbish, including more than 1200 kilos of plastic that can be recycled, throughout their plogging journey. More than a tonne of garbage could have choked more sewers. It could have made its way into rivers and seas and wrecked much more harm. But, thanks to the group, for preventing such environmental hazards.

Art from Recycled Beer Bottles

art from recycled beer bottles
Image Credit: NDTV

Moreover, Pune Ploggers have devised yet another ingenious solution to an unusual issue. Roughly 2000 beer bottles daily end up on the road, as per Vivek. Also, no recycling facility in Pune can handle reprocessed beer bottles.

The participants at Pune Ploggers arrived with the innovative concept of gathering them and transforming them into pieces of art by washing them first and then decorating them with Warli art. The paintings are beautiful and well-liked, and it sells for more than 300 INR each.

This initiative has also opened numerous employment opportunities, especially for rural women, who help in the recycling method. Artists have also gained considerable recognition for their eco-friendly art.

Wrapping it up

It feels easier to blame the government for the littering or wait for them to clean the streets. But, we cannot stay at the margins and expect somebody else to do the work for us.

Shivani Gosai, a 21-year-old Engineering student and a fellow Plogger said, “Who ever gets involved in this activity, their mentality changes and they become more socially responsible.”

It is wondrous to see the youth of this country being aware of the climatic disabilities and working actively to mend the damage.

As citizens and fellow humans, we have to fulfill our responsibilities towards the community. As R. Madhavan said in Rang De Basanti, “Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota hai. Usse perfect banana parta hai.” (No country is perfect. We have to make it perfect.)

The inspiring tale of the Pune Ploggers shows how people can come together in moments of crisis and find creative solutions to several issues at once. The belief is that any attempt, no matter how tiny, can alter how we perceive the world. How fulfilling is the thought that my community is clean because of me!

If you live in or visit Pune and want to be a part of Pune Ploggers, get in contact with Vivek and his team of volunteers.

The EnthuZiastic team supports the Pune Ploggers’ initiative to make the world a better place to live in.

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