'Plogging' graduate starts 30 city clean-up tour of UK
Press release issued: 2 December 2022
An Indian environmentalist is strapping on his trainers to help clean up 30 UK cities in 30 days.
Over the past year, Vivek Gurav and his volunteers have picked up 5,000kg of rubbish, including 3,000kg of plastic, all while out running in Bristol.
He began plogging – that’s jogging and litter picking – in India in 2018 and didn’t want to stop when he left India for the first time in September 2021, to take up a University of Bristol scholarship.
Since then, he has covered 420 miles on 120 plogging ‘missions’, and has been joined by volunteers from 180 countries
His efforts saw him featured on the BBC One Show and pick up a special award from then-Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson. In October, he was invited to 10 Downing Street by newly minted PM Rishi Sunak and in November he spoke at COY17 (the youth version of COP27).
Now, he is taking the show on the road – where he hopes to inspire others to set-up plogging groups around the country.
“I have only been plogging in Bristol but I kept getting asked by people in Manchester, Leeds, Derby, to come plogging there,” Vivek said.
“So I decided to do a plogging challenge across 30 UK cities.
“Ultimately, I want to set-up a UK-wide plogging community like I did back in India. So, if I can go out plogging across the UK, orientate people, give them a blueprint, then they can start their own groups.”
The former app developer hopes to be joined by fellow ploggers, environmentalists and keen runners as he visits each city via public transport.
Over the next week Vivek will be plogging in Derby, Nottingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Leicester, Birmingham and Worcester. Find out where he is going next on his Instagram page.
Vivek’s life has changed dramatically since he moved to the UK to study for a master’s in Environmental Policy and Management MSc at the University of Bristol.
His Bristol plogging group drew hundreds of volunteers and made international headlines. Such was their success that he was invited to Egypt to speak at COY17.
Over the past four years, his volunteers in India have collected more than 1,000 tonnes (that’s 1 million kg) of litter.
“COY was amazing, a real opportunity,” Vivek said.
“The award from the Prime Minister really motivated me to do more. And going to 10 Downing Street: that was the best thing that has happened to me, any of my friends or family, or anyone in my community in India. They are really happy, they look to me as an example now.
“Now I get asked all the time by Indian people how they can come and study in the UK. They want to follow my path. It feels good to be able to help.”
Vivek graduated from his master’s in November. He is working for an environmental consultancy while continuing his plogging missions.
He plans to use the skills he has learnt in the UK to help make India more sustainable.