Plog­ging away

Shepparton News - - FRONT PAGE - By Ash­lea Wi­toslawski

Waste war­riors came to­gether on Satur­day to take part in the third an­nual ‘‘plog­ging’’ event at Stu­art Re­serve in Shep­par­ton. Com­bin­ing fit­ness with en­vi­ron­men­tal clean-up, Shep­par­ton-Mooroopna Ur­ban Land­care Group’s He­len Jeffs and Al­li­son Trethowan from River Con­nect took a break from all the fun to stay hy­drated on the day.

Laces were tied tight, sun­screen was lath­ered and lit­ter pick­ers were at the ready for the third an­nual ‘‘plog­ging’’ event on Satur­day.

A keen group of trash-tack­ling peo­ple took to Stu­art Re­serve in Shep­par­ton, pick­ing up var­i­ous pieces of plas­tic, glass and other mis­cel­la­neous items left be­hind by oth­ers.

Part of the Ac­tiv­i­ties in the Park pro­gram, plog­ging is a morn­ing ses­sion com­bin­ing ex­er­cise and clean­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

The phrase comes from the Swedish words ‘‘plocka upp’’ — a com­bi­na­tion of ‘‘to jog’’ and ‘‘to pick up’’.

Par­tic­i­pants chose to walk along the paths, along the river banks and through the bush­land fill­ing large bags as they went.

RiverCon­nect ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer Al­li­son Trethowan said the event was a great op­por­tu­nity to help the en­vi­ron­ment and pro­tect lo­cal f lora and fauna.

‘‘It’s about keep­ing the area beau­ti­ful and safety for the an­i­mals,’’ Ms Trethowan said.

‘‘We hear a lot about ocean an­i­mals, but we need to re­mem­ber it comes from here and af­fects all the crit­ters down the stream.

‘‘We have a re­spon­si­bil­ity now more than ever to take home and take out our rub­bish.’’

Stu­art Re­serve is a hotspot for dump­ing, with a tele­vi­sion spot­ted by one of the par­tic­i­pants on the day sit­ting among some shrubs.

Ms Trethowan thanked those who took the time to pick up rub­bish as they saw it in the re­serve and en­cour­aged ev­ery­one to take home any items they may see as they walk, jog or cy­cle through the area. ●

The ac­tiv­ity ‘‘plog­ging’’ may seem unique and novel, but car­ries mul­ti­ple clear ben­e­fits.

And pos­si­bly more im­por­tantly, cre­ates vi­tal aware­ness of the ne­ces­sity of look­ing af­ter the re­gion’s rivers, bush­land and sur­rounds.

Trans­lated from the Swedish words ‘‘plocka upp’’ — a com­bi­na­tion of ‘‘to jog’’ and ‘‘to pick up’’— the ac­tiv­ity cre­ates the op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in some phys­i­cal ex­er­cise, while also clean­ing up lit­ter.

That the event took place at Stu­art Re­serve is sig­nif­i­cant and il­lus­tra­tive.

One or­gan­iser de­scribed the area as a hotspot for rub­bish dump­ing.

With any luck, the par­tic­i­pants of this lat­est plog­ging event will take note of the rub­bish dump­ing and lit­ter in the re­serve and per­haps re­lay the mes­sage of clean­ing up the area.

It goes with­out say­ing that plas­tics, glass, alu­minium cans and other larger house­hold items cre­ate ugly ad­di­tions to the other­wise pretty land­scape.

Per­haps worse still, such rub­bish can have dis­as­trous im­pacts on the flora and fauna that call our re­gion home.

‘‘We hear a lot about ocean an­i­mals, but we need to re­mem­ber it comes from here and af­fects all the crit­ters down the stream,’’ RiverCon­nect ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer Al­li­son Trethowan said.

‘‘We have a re­spon­si­bil­ity now more than ever to take home and take out our rub­bish.’’

Events such as this one, along­side of­fer­ing a great op­por­tu­nity for some ex­er­cise over the week­end, pro­vide valu­able op­por­tu­ni­ties for city res­i­dents to see first hand the lit­ter through the re­gion’s re­mark­able nat­u­ral ar­eas and hope­fully prompt dis­cus­sion by pass­ing on these mes­sages.

Well done to all in­volved.

Pic­ture: Rod­ney Braith­waite

Pic­tures: Rod­ney Braith­waite

Team­work: Com­mu­nity mem­ber Emily Lange and RiverCon­nect project of­fi­cer Meg Pethy­bridge cleaned up Stu­art Re­serve on Satur­day.

Re­fresh­ments: Shep­par­ton-Mooroopna Ur­ban Land­care Group sec­re­tary He­len Jeffs and RiverCon­nect ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer Al­li­son Trethowan take a quick drink break dur­ing Plog­ging.

Do­ing their bit: Com­mu­nity mem­ber Emily Lange and RiverCon­nect project of­fi­cer Meg Pethy­bridge worked to­gether to clean up Stu­art Re­serve.

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