- Every Thursday, in its “off-field” section, “20 Minutes” explores new spaces for the expression of sport, unexpected, unusual, clever or booming.
- Nicolas Lemonnier has given visibility in France to plogging, which consists of picking up waste while jogging.
- Today, the association has ambassadors in 84 countries and claims 150,000 members.
- Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, resumed his video on his personal account, giving it great visibility.
They started with a small gesture. During their training, during their jogging. A pack of cigarettes, a can, a butt, a plastic bag… Rubbish collected in nature or on the side of the road and then thrown in the first bin. Run and pick up. From these two actions was born the term of plogging, contraction of the Swedish verb plocka upp (to recover) and of jogging. A name for a practice as old as waste. “Since we have produced them, people have been collecting them. It is a natural gesture. Nobody has the scoop to say it was I who invented plogging or garbage collection. Except that before, it had no name, ”smiles Nicolas Lemonnier.
Failing to have invented it, it is he who gave this practice visibility in France. “In 2016, I started posting photos of the waste I collected on social media. People looked positively. Some have decided to do the same. We got together around a Facebook group ”The Nantais, amateur runner and osteopath, created the association Run Eco Team to give it visibility. And when Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, resumed his video on his personal account, the media coverage of his action and subscriptions to the page exploded.
“We cannot speak of an exploit when we speak of ecology”
Today, the association has ambassadors in 84 countries and claims 150,000 members. “We carry out theoretical interventions in schools. It is by motivating each other that we will be able to save the planet, ”continues Nicolas Lemonnier.
Running is therefore good for your health and good for the environment. Plogging, a sport or a philosophy? At the limit of both. The Nantais sees it “more as a sensitivity more than a discipline. We cannot speak of an exploit when we speak of ecology. Others have taken up the concept, in their own way. Clément Chapel further emphasizes the sporting side of his approach. More event-driven as well. “Sport is my passion, my childhood dream,” he explains. I found a way to make this dream come true by making sense of it ”.
The GreeNico Tour, a plogging tour de France
For several weeks, he has been organizing world record attempts in the south of France, in Milhaud, Palavas or Montpellier. Unofficial, since there is no federation, nor even no bailiff to integrate the Guinness book des Records. “We don’t have the means. These world records are a way of creating an event and therefore interest, ”he almost apologizes. On Wednesday evening, a 100 km attempt was planned from Millau, to launch the
ploggathon. The event, relayed throughout France until the end of the month, should allow everyone, athletes or simple joggers, to put on their sneakers, to take a bag. And to pick up what they find along the way.
Act, show by example, rather than condemn. Last year, Nicolas Vandenelsken suggested to the organizers of the Tour de France to finish the last kilometer of each stage of the Tour by collecting waste. This season, he took his idea further. The GreeNico Tour is a plogging Tour de France that should start from Vieux-Condé, in the North, in mid-August. To symbolically end in Paris on December 8, world climate day. “Every day, over the last two kilometers, I could be joined by children,” explains the organizer, who is currently in contact with schools and communities to involve as many people as possible around his project. “This affects both the environment and the fight against sedentarism. I would like to include in my approach the cities labeled “land of games” for the 2024 Olympics “.
On the program, 115 days of racing over distances of 36 km. And no need to rack your brains for routes suited to the project. “Unfortunately, you only have to bend down to find waste,” concludes Nicolas Lemonnier.
From May 13 to 31, 5,000 participants are expected across France to run and collect waste as part of the ploggathon. “At each level of 100 (100 people, 100 km traveled or 100 kg of waste collected), the association undertakes to plant fruit trees with schools as part of an educational program”, underlines Clément Chapel, his organizer. To do this, you must register in advance. The bib costs 13 euros. “This is what will finance the planting of the trees.”