Ploggathon to tackle roadside litter on Kangaroo Island

Frenchman Clement Chapel has fallen in love with Kangaroo Island, he just can't believe how much litter there is.

So he has taken it upon himself to start cleaning up the roadsides, bringing a new fitness craze called "plogging" to the Island.

Plogging is a combination of jogging or walking with picking up litter and derives from the Swedish "plocka upp", according to Wikipedia.

It started as an organised activity in Sweden around 2016 and spread to other countries in 2018, following increased concern about plastic pollution. 

"A crazy Frenchman who’s in love with KI with a dream to see it litter free," is how he describes himself on his Facebook page "Ploggathon".

Clem talks rubbish

The 27-year-old visitor, originally from Grenoble in the French Alps, has already started plogging with friends and anyone willing to join him.

So far he has covered 50km of roadsides, one campground and two car parks, plogging up 2866 pieces of litter, 985 of them recycled.

He has also started organising the Kangaroo Island Ploggathon, which is set to take place from June 13 to June 22 and will cover as much of the Island as possible.

He started travelling with his girlfriend last year and arrived on the Island in December for a six-month stint working at Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action.

"On average on KI main roads, there is litter every 20 meters," he said

"I aim to pick up at least 50,000 pieces of litter and recycle 20,000 items during this operation.

"I can do a big part by myself but we all have interest in the result that's why I'm asking your help to make KI the cleanest territory in Australia."

He is hoping to get sponsorship and support from local business and government, so that volunteers can receive rewards, thereby maximizing the operation results.

"During the 10 days of the Ploggathon, we will be plogging for more than 300 km all around the Island following a set calendar of different destinations," he said.

"Volunteers are welcome for one or 10 days. They will follow me for any distance that suit them, running, walking, or even with a bike and a trailer to fetch the collected litter.

"We need to share our beliefs of how it is important for us to move towards sustainable behaviors in our own environment.

"This is a good opportunity for anyone who wants to contribute in our fight for the environment and do a bit of exercise. 

"So if you are keen to get involved for a big clean up of the island we are living on you’re more than welcome to join KI Ploggathon.

"Any sort of encouragement, support or advice would be of great help. If you just want to pick up one piece of litter or 1000, raise $2 or $2000, run 100 meters, 1 km, or 300 km with me, you are welcome. The more people involved, the cleaner KI will be."

The Islander joined Mr Chapel for a plogging session at Brownlow where 1.2 km along The Parade out to Links Road was covered. They collected:

  • 160 plastic pieces, packaging, papers and unidentifiable little items
  • 62 items or packaging recycled
  • 43 cans recycled
  • 6 glass bottles recycled
  • 5 plastic bottles recycled
  • 1 pair of shoes
  • 5 clothes
  • 1 pillow
  • 1 Christmas light
  • 1 golf ball
  • 1 fancy ash tray
  • 1 clothes peg
  • 1 glass

"Because of these four bags full of rubbish left in the scrubs the average of the day is terribly disgusting. We found litter every four meters..." he posted.

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