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Plogging trend has legs, arrives in Newfoundland and Labrador

Phil Riggs with the bag of garbage he collected during one of his plogs. Riggs runs in sandals and ran half of last year’s Tely 10 barefoot.
Phil Riggs with the bag of garbage he collected during one of his plogs. Riggs runs in sandals and ran half of last year’s Tely 10 barefoot. - Contributed

Enthusiasts pick up litter while jogging

Plogging, an activity that is a combination of jogging and picking up roadside litter that started in Vancouver, has reached Newfoundland.

Similar movements among beach-goers and hikers have been spread on Facebook, trying to encourage active participation in reducing litter and protecting the environment. The idea is to take a bag to the beach, or on a hike or even a jog, and pick up litter as you go.

Phil Riggs of Glovertown was running three days a week in preparation for this year’s Tely 10, which he was planning to run in commemoration of his wife’s great-nephew, Parker Tobin, one of the hockey players killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in April, and started picking up litter along each side of the road on one of his runs each week.

Phil Riggs with the litter he collected during one of his plogs.
Phil Riggs with the litter he collected during one of his plogs.

“I just thought it was a wonderful idea, of plogging,” Riggs says.

Riggs stressed, “This is not something I just did.”

When he first came across plogging, he checked online to see if there was anywhere in Newfoundland where people were taking part in the movement, but found nothing.

Knowing there were other Glovertown runners training for the Tely 10, Riggs made a post on Facebook explaining what he was doing and suggested that other runners take a bag with them on their run one day a week and clean other areas. His post was met with positive comments from friends and runners who thought it was a good idea.

“I’m finding there’s a lot of stuff that really shouldn’t be there,” Riggs says.

He is finding a lot of coffee cups, pop cans and plastic bags. When he finishes his run, he goes back along the course in his car to pick up large pieces of plastic along the side of the road that may have blown off trucks.

“Everyone can take one day a week,” says Riggs.

Especially for those who are not serious runners, he says taking one day a week to collect litter along their route takes very little additional effort.

Picking up litter is important to him, and something he does as often as he can. Plogging was a natural extension of his efforts. Riggs tries to pick up any trash he finds when going out fishing or walking. He intentionally parks his car at the far end of parking lots so he can pick up waste on the way to the door of the store he is going to. Riggs says he’s not worried about germs, but does make sure to wash his hands after he is done collecting trash.

“To me, it’s such a worthwhile thing and it takes so little out of you,” Riggs said.

Unfortunately, has had to pull out of running the Tely 10, but will continue plogging when he is able to start running again, and hopes the movement will catch on in the rest of the province.

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