Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg may be generating global headlines, but a more grassroots craze from her home country is also helping to clean up the environment - and keep people fit.

The brainchild of Eric Ahlstrom, "plogging" combines jogging with picking up trash. From its humble beginnings in the Swedish ski resort of Are, it is now spreading worldwide, with participants from as far away as India and Mexico.

The word plogging is a mix of jogging and "plocka upp" which means picking up in Swedish.


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Trail runners gathering to test out plogging on a sunny evening this week in Stockholm found it a rewarding experience as they jumped off the beaten track to collect trash before dumping it in rubbish bins near their starting point.

Explaining the concept, Ahlstrom says: "Well, the idea was, I was living in a ski resort, in Are, and I was picking up garbage there. Then I moved down to Stockholm and I haven't lived here for 20 years, and I noticed, it was so much garbage here.

"Then I started running with some friends, through the trail running community and something was happening. When you start running, you get the adrenaline, the endorphins going, it becomes like a treasure hunt."

Lena Lagerljung, who has been plogging with Ahlstrom since he started in 2016, says that as she can't sit alongside Thunberg outside parliament every week, she has turned to plogging instead.