MANCHESTER, NH — Ploggers, unite: It’s time for some Trashercize in the Queen City.
Not hip to plogging yet? Don’t worry, you’re about to learn everything you need to know about the latest eco-friendly fitness trend. And you can get in on the ground floor on Saturday, thanks to Katie Ferrara, who has launched a Manchester Plogging Meet-up group — for those interested in picking up litter while jogging.
The first meetup is scheduled for March 31 at 2 p.m. outside the Manchester Downtown Hotel (formerly the Radisson) on Elm Street.
Ferrara, who lives on the West Side, has been bothered for a while now by the trash she’s seen on her regular walks/jogs around the city, and finally decided to do something about it.
“For a year and a half now I’ve been jogging by the woods near my house, where I saw an old abandoned cooler and a bunch of bottles and cans. I’ve been saying over and over that I should bring a trash bag some day and take care of it,” Ferrara says.
Then last week she saw a video on Facebook about “plogging,” a mashup word formed from “pick and jog” that quickly has become an environmental trend. It originated in 2016 in Sweden as a response to plastic pollution, and has gone global.
She was inspired.
“I thought hey, I’ve wanted to clean up trash in the neighborhood for years. Why not get on board? So I am,” says Ferrara, who plogged through the woods on Friday and finally bagged the cooler — the white whale of a catch to her trash-obsessed Captain Ahab — after being haunted for months by its presence in her world.
There are stories piling up across the Internet about plogging as a pastime with purpose — most famously, the reward of trash-picking for humorist David Sedaris, who has become such a prolific plogger that the London suburb where he lives has named a trash bin for him. Sedaris uses a hand-sized claw on a pole and a Fitbit and logs 60,000 daily steps while picking up trash. He’s challenged others to participate by adopting the street where they live, with the lofty goal of someday having a trash bin named for them, as well.
But there are also plenty of everyday ploggers, like the ploggers of Instagram, who post selfies with their plogging hauls, including cast-away bottles retrieved and tucked inside their jogging pants, and bags heavy with plastic, collected as they go on daily runs.
In much the same way, Ferrara is hoping to inspire some other potential ploggers who, like her, enjoy the outdoors and would enjoy it even more if there weren’t trash everywhere. She will bring some grocery bags and gloves, her hunting and gathering tools of choice, but welcomes anyone interested in assisting to bring or donate clean-up supplies to the cause.
Going forward, Ferrara would like to focus her plogging nearer to home, along the Piscataqua River Trail and Bass Island Park, but figured the downtown would be a good place to launch the group.