New Delhi: Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (I/C) for Housing and Urban Affairs, Civil Aviation launched the Swachhata Hi Seva India Plog Run at Rajpath Lawn, India Gate to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation- Mahatma Gandhi. The event was aimed to spread awareness on the harmful effects of plastic waste and enlist the support of citizens to eliminate single use plastic. Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, MoHUA, Vijay Kumar Dev, Chief Secretary, Government of NCT, Prabhakar Singh, Director General, Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and other senior officials from NDMC and MoH and UA were also present at the event.
Administering ‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ pledge and pledge against use of disposable plastic, Puri said, “Today, on the fifth anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission and the 150th birth anniversary of the Mahatma, I congratulate everyone on having achieved the dream of an open defection free India (except 52 ULBs of West Bengal). This has been possible with the participation of the biggest stakeholders of the movement- the citizens of this country. We are committed to the Prime Minister’s vision of a SUP free India. With the launch of the India Plog Run, I am confident that the day is not far when India will be free from SUP.”
Durga Shanker Mishra added, “Citizens across the country have been participating wholeheartedly in Swachhata Hi Seva launched by the Prime Minister on 11 September, 2019. We have already had over 55,000 events conducted by citizens across urban India with participation of around 2 crore people.
The Minister also launched the Delhi Cyclists Plog Run. A video that showcased the “SBM Toilets on Google Maps” initiative that allows users to locate the nearest public toilet was also launched on the occasion. Till now, a total of 57,000 public toilets have been made live on Google Maps across 2,300 cities with the number set to increase in the coming days.
The India Plog Run is also being held in 50 cities across India by United Way of India and Go Native with active support from the Ministry. The plogging drive at India Gate covered a 3 kilometre stretch around India Gate.
Plogging is a combination of jogging with picking up litter and had first begun in Sweden in 2016 following increased concerns around plastic pollution. Today, plogging has become a popular activity with several plogging drives being organized in India by citizen groups, Urban Local Bodies, etc and is in convergence with the Fit India Movement. The event had other attractions for participants such as a women run cloth bag counter where visitors could get eco-friendly bags stitched from old clothes and a series of street plays on the issue of SUP.