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February 10th, 2018

“Rubbish has become invisible”

I shared with you, a couple of weeks ago, that some of us in my Delhi running group are tackling the terrible rubbish problem as best we can – by picking up the trash in the park where we train, rather than run past it & ignore it, which so many people are content to do.

After every session, anyone who can spare 15/20 minutes pitches in, and invariably we pick up alarming amounts of rubbish.

One of the youngsters today made a very valid point, when he said that rubbish has become invisible.

He is so right.

People walk past the plastic bags and paan packets and chip packets – and worse, I assure you – seemingly oblivious to it all.

One imagines that there are cleaners on some municipal payroll somewhere or other, but clearly they don’t bother to do their job.

So we are trying, in our own little way, to break the “it’s not my job” mentality, by volunteering to clean up.

Because the option is, really and truly, to pretend that the rubbish is invisible.

We work on the basis that we use the park, so we owe it to ourselves to clean it up.

I mean – just look at the photo the left here.  That is what has been dumped behind the low stone wall that borders the park.

We none of us had the energy, not the time, nor the courage to tackle this filthy dump today, I must be honest.

There is more than enough to pick up within the park, on the path, on the grass, on the running track and around the exercise machines.

Today we didn’t mange to rope anyone else into helping us, the way we did 2 weeks ago.

People working out on the exercise machines just stared blankly at us, as we all picked up in front of them.

It’s going to be a long haul, to motivate people, but given the fabulous level of support amongst our running group, and the outrage at the filth (because I think every one of us is truly horrified) I am optimistic that, little by little, we can, as Mahatma Gandhi said:

As I mentioned in my earlier blog post about our clean up drive, I really and truly am proud of my friends.

Despite work commitments, people take a few minutes out to clean up, and the sense of team work is amazing.

Super proud of every one of us.

And we are making a difference, despite the enormity of the problem

This is before:

And this is after:

Impressive, right, with just about 20 minutes quick team work?

Here are some of my wonderful friends at work:

We carry the garbage we have picked up to the rubbish skip:


One of our team, Sunil Punshi, not only cleans up, but also documents our work & the progress we have made.  All these photos & videos are his.

This is what we did today, trying, in our own little way to be the change:

For anyone who wants to get involved, it’s not complicated.  Simply pick up around you, in your street, in your neighbourhood.

Out group has started an Instagram feed, to document the problem and the solution.  Here’s the link & do please share your own before/after photos with us.  Do please tag us on @ploggersofindia.

We also have a Facebook page. Once again, please share stories & photos with us.

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