PM Modi isn’t only taking India to the world — he’s instituted the World Yoga Day, and made world leaders wear his trademark jackets in the past — but he also seems to be bringing some of the world’s best ideas back home.
Google searches for “plogging” have risen more than 10,000 percent in India after the Prime Minister Modi shared a video of himself picking up trash from a beach in Mammalapuram. ” Plogging at a beach in Mamallapuram this morning. It lasted for over 30 minutes,” he wrote on Twitter today morning.
The tweet went viral — it’s since been retweeted more than 30,000 times, and has dominated the news cycle for the day. But it also seems to have sent lots of Indians scurrying over to their computers to figure out what “plogging” really was. Google Trends data showed that searches for “plogging” spiked today, with people having searched for the term more than a 100 times more than for any other day this week.
The searches came from all over India, but, predictably, were concentrated at Ground Zero of the Prime Minister’s initiative — Pondicherry had the highest interest in the term, and Tamil Nadu was among the states that showed the most interest in looking up what plogging was.
Plogging, for those who didn’t bother Googling it today, is a combination of jogging and picking up trash. It started as an organized activity in Sweden around 2016, and spread to other countries in 2018, following increased concerns around plastic pollution. It also serves as a workout, and provides variations in body movements by adding bending, squatting and stretching to the main action of running, hiking, or walking.
Plogging’s origins are foreign, but it would tie in nicely with two of PM Modi’s pet initiatives — Swachh Bharat and Fit India. There are plenty of people who walk on India’s roads for exercise, and if some of them could also pick up some trash along the way, they could help in making India’s roads dramatically cleaner than before. Also, there are lots of people who’re keen on keeping India clean — if they could walk around their neighbourhoods, they’d simultaneously be keeping themselves fit while doing so.
And Google’s search trends show, there are lots of people in India who’re now aware of what plogging is, and how it works. PM Modi’s half-an-hour long plogging session and the resulting video have brought plogging to the mainstream — it remains to be seen if the rest of the country will follow suit.