Plogging, is a recent trend of collecting rubbish that one sees along the path while going on walks or jogging. Various large plogging events have been organised around the world. As such, for the first time, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Malacca Johore organise this environmental awareness event, in line with Pope Francis’ mission for ecological conversion of all Christians and to love the creations of our Almighty Creator. This was also an opportunity to gain public awareness of activities in the Catholic Church, and cooperating with local town council, state assemblymen and the corporate sector in organising an event such as this.
The event started in the early Saturday morning with participants gathering at Pelangi Leisure Mall, Johor Bahru, as early as 6.00am, and as the gathering become larger and larger they were served with performances and Zumba before the walk.
His Lordship, Bishop Bernard Paul, officiate the event with his speech and opening prayer. YB Andrew Chen, the assemblymen for Stulang, also gave a few words, reminding us of our duty as Malaysians to care for our environment regardless of race and religion, as exemplified by the attendance at the gathering that day, who are then invited to sing together the chosen theme song for the event “Heal the World”. At 7.30am the ploggers begin the walk with a flag-off and the sound of air-horn from the VIPs.
The route of the walk is around 5 kilometres long, beginning from Pelangi Leisure Mall and going through housing and commercial area near Taman Sri Tebrau. The enthusiastic ploggers pick up rubbish from the side of roads and near shop and houses, filling up their trash bag as they move along, walking, greeting and chatting with each other. Around 500 participants joined the walk while the rest pick up rubbish around mall area instead. By 9.30am, the ploggers returned to the starting point and managed to collect 2500kg of rubbish.
However, the event does not end there. Ploggers were presented with more performances such as, singing, dances, diabolo performance, lucky draws and much more, including an eating contest for children and adults, and also a performance by the Evangelical Concert team, singing praise to the Almighty God openly to the public. There are also exhibition booths by various companies and organisations, and also demonstration of green technology and ways to care for the environment, such as vertical planting.
Fr. Moses Yap, the spiritual advisor of the Diocesan Evangelical Commission, gave the final speech, thanking everyone who made the event a success: the participants, organisers, supporters, volunteers and sponsors. The event ends at around noon and everyone goes back with a smile on their face, knowing that they have contributed to the well-being of our home: Earth.