Runners hit the road in support of anti-littering

2018-05-30 06:01
Here are the PE 32Gi Running Club athletes who tried out the plogging idea last Thursday.                          Photo:SUPPLIED

Here are the PE 32Gi Running Club athletes who tried out the plogging idea last Thursday. Photo:SUPPLIED

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A GROWING concern among Nelson Mandela Bay residents about the increasing problem of illegal dump sites and littered roads has motivated local runners to start looking for ideas to curb it.

As part of a new anti-littering campaign, the PE 32Gi Running Club decided to test one of the ideas, called “plogging”, to address the problem.

According to Jonathan Mandell, the chairman of the club, plogging was started in Sweden. It essentially requires a jogger to jog and pick up trash at the same time.

“There is a growing concern among runners regarding the increased litter at road races, not only in Port Elizabeth but across the country,” Mandell said.

“We need to first educate runners and find innovative ways to create awareness. We see plogging as an innovative way.

“This idea I picked up on social media and thought the Swedes are very conscious of their environment, so why can’t we replicate the idea?”

The PE 32Gi Running Club is a small, family-oriented club that has only been in existence since the start of 2017 and currently has 40 members.

They come together for an organised time trial at the Victoria Park Bowling Club in South End every Thursday at 17:30 and last week they decided to try plogging for the first time.

All runners are welcome to join the club members for either the 5km or 8km route.

Before the club tested the plogging idea for the first time last Thursday, May 24, Mandell said that if everything went well, he would encourage all EPA clubs to try it out as well. Though only about 10 runners pitched up, he considered the event a success.

“I think doing this in summer would be better as the light fades rather quickly around this time of the year. We could do it once a month, however,” he said.

“We decided to do only the 5km.

“Within 40 minutes, the amount of trash that was collected was unbelievable. I am a little embarrassed about the amount of trash that lies around our town.

“If we could get every running club to do this once a year, it would certainly help,” Mandell said.

According to Mandell, they have not presented the idea to the EPA board yet, but once that is done, they will roll out the campaign.

“The planned presentation and approval to their approach will be held on June 4.

“The big issue presently is the amount of litter that is left on route by runners. We as runners all have a responsibility to ensure that litter is disposed of in the correct manner. Many of the plastic sachets, gel packs and other littler end up in the environment.

“For that reason, we have started an anti-littering campaign in EPA.

“We would like to implore all runners and spectators to embrace this and do their part,” he said.

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