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Plogging, the art of picking up litter while jogging, spreads in Ukraine

Ihor Dzikovskyi, percussion player in an indie-pop band, Odyn v kanoe, one of the plogging trendsetters in Ukraine. Photo:
Plogging, the art of picking up litter while jogging, spreads in Ukraine

In 2016, a new movement appeared in Sweden at the intersection of two popular trends, healthy lifestyle and environmentalism: plogging. People started to pick litter whenever they went running. With the help of social media, plogging quickly spread around the world. Ihor Dzikovskyi – a percussion player in the band Odyn v Kanoe supported this idea and became one of the first dedicated “ploggers” in Ukraine, trying it out in his own town Sosnivka, Lviv oblast.

The history of plogging

A new tendency which combines taking care of the environment and keeping fit is being widely spread all over the world. The fans of running and healthy lifestyle started to collect trash while their everyday running. This activity is called plogging, which is a portmanteau word from the Swedish “plocka upp” that can be translated as pick up, and English “jogging.” Swedish activist Erik Ahlström founded plogging in 2016. When he moved to Stockholm from a small town, he was surprised by the amount of trash on the streets. During his everyday runs he started picking up any litter he saw along the way. The movement spread and started trending on social media after people would take a picture with a bag full of trash and post it online with the hashtag #plogging. By posting pictures of the trash on social media, the movement aims to increase awareness of plastic pollution. Soon plogging communities started to appear and organize events in different countries.

Plogging in Ukraine

Ihor Dzikovskyi is a percussion player in an indie-pop band Odyn v Kanoe, which was founded in Lviv in 2010.

Ihor has lots of hobbies beside playing. Not only does Ihor work in IT, but for the last six years, he has been involved in organizing the art festival Sosnafest in Sosnivka, which promotes art and crafts in the local community. Ihor describes it as an “eco-festival”, which is held in a local park with music bands and workshop sessions from various artisans and craftsmen.

In order to protect himself from ticks, dirt, and thorns of dewberry bushes, which are often full of trash, Ihor wears clothes that cover his arms and legs. He says, that plogger kit should consist of a phone, headphones, bag, and gloves. Photo:

Ihor was one of the first people in Ukraine who supported the idea of plogging and started doing it.

“Once, after I returned from abroad I came across a video in my news feed. And it was so close to what I felt. I often walk around this forest with my daughter or alone in the morning. And I constantly had this thought in my head. And during my walks, I was thinking about it. So when I saw the video I thought to myself: …I have to do it. At first, I was just walking, but seeing litter in my local area motivated me to run. And I started running. I had never run before.”

From his town of Sosnivka, and from another group in Zhytomyr, the trend spread around Ukraine.

Activists in Zhytomyr started “ploggothons” – running or walking for different distances and collecting litter. After that, Ihor adopted their experience and planned five plogging routes in his town, with four of them for walking and one 5 km route around the town for running.

Ihor joined plogging in 2018 by combining running and picking litter in Sosnivka. He sorts and recycles collected trash.

The fans of running and healthy lifestyle started to collect trash while their everyday running. Photo:

Ihor says that it is important to do it regularly because only clean plastic that hasn’t been lying on the ground for too long can be recycled. Every time Ihor finds new litter in forest and parks.

“It is cool to clean, but first we have to attract attention and show people that there are other ways.”

The worst trash, to Ihor’s mind, is the plastic bottle. Because of its density, it takes a very long time to decompose.

“It is just one bottle – thought 10 million of Ukrainians and one day bought a bottle of water. In general, the goal of this project, my little dream, is that plogging communities would exist all over Ukraine, and in every town, maybe once every other day, people would run and clean up their local area.”

Ihor really enjoys cleaning parks and forests, which is made even better by the fresh air and the scent of pine. He calls it his destiny.

In order to promote plogging, Ihor takes a picture with his trash bag after each run and posts it on his Instagram (@sliptic) with a corresponding hashtag #ploggingukraine.

More and more people in Ukraine are joining the plogging movement and organizing ploggothons in their towns. 


The author of the project: Bogdan Logvynenko, Author: Khrystyna Oryshchak, Editor: Kateryna Lehka, Producer: Olha Shor, Photographer: Dmytro Bartosh, Cameraman: Oleg Sologub, Pavlo Pashko, Film editor: Yuliya Rublevska, Director: Mykola Nosok, Photo editor: Oleksandr Khomenko, Transcriptionist: Olha Stulii, Translator: Khrystyna Tynkalyuk, Translation editor: Meg McAuley, Translation editor: Hanna Uraieva

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