PM goes plogging on TN beach, gives Swachh & Fit India drives a big boost

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CHENNAI: PM Narendra Modi collected trash on Saturday morning from the Mamallapuram beach for over half an hour, giving a much-needed push to ‘plogging’ or picking up litter while jogging. By doing so, the PM also walked the talk: he had extolled the practice in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on September 29.
Plogging, which began in Sweden in 2016 and spread to other countries, encapsulates two Modi government initiatives — Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India Mission) and and Fit India Movement.
Strolling along a sandy stretch, the PM, wearing a black T-shirt and black track pants, is seen in a video — it soon went viral on social media — picking up a few plastic covers and bags and dropping them into a bag he was carrying with him all the while. After 30 minutes of plogging, he handed over the bag to Jeyaraj, an employee of the hotel, where he had put up.
Stressing the need to keep beaches clean, Modi tweeted, “Let us ensure our public places are clean and tidy. Let us also ensure we remain fit and healthy.”
Alby John, Greater Chennai Corporation deputy commissioner (south) and well-known plogger, says the PM’s act could help bust myths about the trend and raise awareness. “Many people are under the assumption that cleaning up a public space for a day cannot bring about lasting change or keep up the pace forever. But we have always pushed the idea that plogging is primarily about creating awareness against littering and reducing consumption of plastic. If an individual or a family plogs once, they also become less prone to littering. The PM’s plogging along Mamallapuram’s beach sends out a clear message — strive for a clean environment, and a fit and healthy body.”
Suresh Bharathan of Dream Runners, which conducts the Dream Runner Half Marathon in the city and includes plogging in the race, said, “This has also increased curiosity and interest among the public, which is what we want. The PM’s plogging is definitely a shot in the arm for building this interest and is bound to have an impact on the city’s larger public towards this activity.”
During Mann Ki Baat, the PM spoke to India’s first plogger, Ripudaman Belvi, who has been trying to popularise the idea. Ripudaman had told the PM during the radio programme how he had started this with his running group in Delhi and later took it to other parts of the country to motivate people.
Plogging subsequently got its first moment in the sun when lakhs of students across the country participated in a plog run organised by Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan on Gandhi Jayanti.
Asked by Modi about three specific suggestions he would like to give to countrymen about plogging, Ripudaman, a marathon runner and founder of Ploggers of India, had said he would like to tell them to deposit litter only in dustbins, and, if they didn’t see a dustbin, to put the litter in their pockets or cars and carry it home for disposal.
“Segregate it into dry and wet waste and in the morning, when a municipality van comes, you give it to them. If we follow these three steps, we will see a litter-free India. We will get an India free of garbage,” Ripudaman had told the PM.

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