AN INDIAN environmentalist visited Worcester as part of his unique bid 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
In October, he was invited to 10 Downing Street by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and in November he spoke at COY17 (the youth version of COP27).
Now, he is taking the show on the road – including a visit to the city on Tuesday (December 6) – 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.
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 1million kg) of litter.
“COY was amazing, a real opportunity,” Vivek said.
“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.