ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — One national publication called it “the new running craze that is saving the planet,” and videos from around the world show men and women in shorts and fitness tights toting garbage bags while striding around their communities.
We’re talking “plogging,” a relatively new phenomenon that combines jogging and litter pickup.
Albuquerque is ready to join the movement.
Albuquerque’s Solid Waste and Parks and Recreation departments have joined the city-administered Keep Albuquerque Beautiful organization to co-sponsor a plogging event on Saturday, Sept. 21. Participants will get garbage bags, gloves and litter grabbers before they set out on the course – a four-mile stretch of the Paseo del Bosque Trail that city staff identified as having a heavier dose of trash.
Ploggers can register as individuals or as teams of up to four.
Participants need not log five-minute miles to win – victory is a matter of pounds. Volunteers will weigh each runners’ trash bags and prizes go to the individual and team with the biggest hauls.
Diane Wikler, a marketing manager for the Solid Waste department, said it’s a new twist on the traditional litter cleanups that Keep Albuquerque Beautiful organizes several times per year.
Plogging “started in Sweden when they noticed there was a lot of marine debris and litter around and it’s kind of just trended toward the U.S.,” she said. “Different environmental groups have been doing different plogging events around the country, and that’s kind of what spurred us on to start it.”
Participation is free. To find a registration form, visit keepalbuquerquebeautiful.com and look for the plogging link under the “programs” tab. The deadline to sign up is Aug. 15.
SEEING RED: The western edge of Albuquerque is now home to the city’s first solar-powered flashing stop signs.
The city’s Municipal Development Department has installed two new signs at the intersection of Paseo del Norte and Ventana West Parkway – a measure area City Councilor Cynthia Borrego said increasing traffic has necessitated.
“While it’s a small improvement, the stop sign makes this intersection safer,” she said in a statement.
Solar-powered lights dot the edges of the signs, which officials say will enhance visibility in an area of the city that is not yet completely built out.
“These new stop signs could be a surprise to motorists, and the lights help to inform motorists of the new stop signs,” Municipal Development spokesman Johnny Chandler said in an email.
The signs and associated intersection striping cost $14,360. Chandler described this as something of a “test project” that the city could replicate elsewhere.
“If this is successful, we will consider putting these in other locations around the city, but at this time do not have any immediate plans to install more,” he said.
Jessica Dyer: firstname.lastname@example.org