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Walk the "Plalk" - Picking Litter while Walking a.k.a. Plalking

Plalking (no coincidence, it rhymes with walking!) is a light-intensity version of Sweden’s recent fitness craze, Plogging, named by combining the word jogging and the Swedish term "plocka upp" (translation: "pick up"). Ploggers stop to collect litter throughout during their runs. In this way they are cleaning up the environment as they exercise. Following its first official U.S. event in Denver, Sweden-based
organization Plogga has been encouraging individuals to start their own groups locally. Whether it’s picking up cigarette butts or food wrappers, regular plalking groups are making a real difference in reducing the trash in their communities and making way for greener, cleaner spaces that can be enjoyed by all.

Either way you go about it – plogging or plalking – every bend to pick up litter can provide the physical benefits of a squat. At any activity level, if you have an interest in doing good for our planet it’s easy to get started – here’s how:

1. Dress for success
To be effective in your plalking session, it’s a good idea to dress in comfortable walking clothes and shoes and be sure to dress suitably for the weather. Gloves are recommended as the litter you come across may be hazardous – or downright gross – in some instances. Disposable gloves can be tucked away for use as needed. Thicker gardening-style gloves can certainly provide you with greater protection from possible sharp edges and stickier situations – they should be
washed after each use.

2. Stash it
Depending on the distance and path of your outing, you may choose to use a regular trash bag or even a reusable shopping bag for collecting and storing litter as you go. Make sure the bag is easy to carry, and can safely hold sharp, dirty or moist items.

3. Get moving
This is a daytime activity (seeing where you’re going and what you’re picking up is key) without rules about how much or how little trash to collect. Remember that no stray piece of garbage is too small to be picked up. It all adds up, making this a great activity for easily-distracted and detail-oriented people alike! Safety should always be your first priority when deciding whether to pick an item up (e.g., broken glass). If there’s any doubt If in doubt, leave the item where it is and either get suitable gear to remove it, like a litter claw and a strong container, or request
assistance from the local authorities. If you must step away, be creative in marking the unsafe item clearly to help other avoid it.

4. Be loud and proud of your plalking efforts!
Sharing will inspire a wider collective movement on the task of cleaning up and it fosters a culture of litter prevention. Imagine the positive impact of every person in a small community picking up a single piece of litter each day!

Studies show that men and women are equal offenders when it comes to littering and, in general, people are more likely to litter in the presence of existing litter. The most common litter includes Common litter includes cigarette butts, plastic bags, paper, candy wrappers, fast-food packaging, bottle caps, 6-pack can holders, glass bottles, and plastic straws. $11.5 billion is spent annually on litter cleanup across the U.S., just one example of the high cost worldwide. As you’re out and about, we hope you’ll seek out opportunities to personally make your surroundings cleaner, brighter and more enjoyable for all!

With love and compassion,

Team Karunaki
Photo cred:  Darryl Dyck, Canadian Press