Free & Fit Challenge 2018 - Sport, Scripture & Service


Free & Fit Challenge 2018 - Sport, Scripture & Service - Plogging in New York, Hoboken & Harrington Park  


When we put our rubbish or trash in the bin we make a difference. It may only be placing the plastic back into the main stream garbage system, but it protects wildlife, reduces accidents and prevents litter being on the streets. We save lives, jobs, the environment and the planet all the time when disposing of our rubbish responsibly, but what happens when we do not put our trash in the bin?! Why bother? What difference does it really make? Surely I can just throw my trash on the streets and no-one cares?! In its appeal to the general public www.earthday.org produced ten facts about littering, and particularly plastic, that may make you think twice about littering. Figure 1. Ten Facts about Plastic Pollution #1 8.3 BILLION Metric Tons (9.1 BILLION US Tons) of plastic has been produced since plastic was introduced in the 1950s.[1] The amount of plastic produced in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity. 

FACT #2 Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated).

FACT #3 91% of plastic waste isn’t recycled. And since most plastics don’t biodegrade in any meaningful sense, all that plastic waste could exist for hundreds or even thousands of years.

FACT #4 500 MILLION plastic straws are used EVERY DAY in America. That’s enough to circle the Earth twice.

FACT #5 Nearly TWO MILLION single-use plastic bags are distributed worldwide every minute.

FACT #6 100 BILLION plastic bags are used by Americans every year. Tied together, they would reach around the Earth’s equator 773 times!

FACT #7 ONE MILLION plastic bottles are bought EVERY MINUTE around the world — and that number will top half a TRILLION by 2021. Less than half of those bottles end up getting recycled.

FACT #8 8 MILLION METRIC TONS of plastic winds up in our oceans each year. That’s enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic…compounding every year. 

FACT #9 There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way.

FACT #10 If plastic production isn’t curbed, plastic pollution will outweigh fish pound for pound by 2050.

Source: https://www.earthday.org/2018/03/07/fact-sheet-end-plastic-pollution/ (Accessed June 11, 2018, via www.earthday.org) The problem with plastic will not go away. Plastic straws, plastic bags and plastic coffee cups are continuously being distributed and used across corporate America and the rest of the world. As indicated in Earth day’s research this is a huge epidemic and a problem that will not be disappearing soon. So what can we do about it I hear you scream?! One way of dealing with it is to employ the latest trend in garbage collection called “Plogging”. What on earth is Plogging? Plogging is when an individual or group of people go walking, jogging or running and pick up litter off the streets. Where does plogging originate from? Plogging is Sweden’s latest fitness craze and is making its way to U.S. shores. The term is a mash-up of jogging and the Swedish “plocka upp,” meaning pick up. In this case, litter. (Kleinn, A. 2018). Free and Fit in New York City, Hoboken and Harrington Park has recently engaged with this activity with both its Youth & Adult teams. Last Monday we headed out to the streets of Manhattan and Plogged are way around the Parks and Streets of Chelsea Waterfront. Whilst studying Matthew 5 and the Beatitudes. Matthew 5:3-4 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. As we were walking, squatting and lunging (or Plunging!) we meditated and reminded ourselves of being Poor in Spirit and Mourning our flesh and sin as we were reminded of Gods grace as we engaged with local street cleaners, the environment and local community. However, we soon realized what a good job was already being done in New York City of cleaning the streets! We were humbled and welcomed by our fellow friends on the street that evening. See Full Post here on Instagram: https://instagram.com/p/BjoErSThKD8/ In contrast, when we went to the Streets of Hoboken we found a lot more trash on the sides of the street, in the local parks and along the Hudson Waterfront. We have been out twice along the Hudson Hoboken side and picked up twelves bags of rubbish across a three mile radius on our first collection and on our second visit we picked up ten bags of trash across a two mile radius. Whilst walking, jogging, running, squatting and lunging this past Saturday, June 10th, we reflected on Loyalty and the importance of reflecting loyalty to others. Proverbs 21:21 He who pursues righteousness and loyalty Finds life, righteousness and honor. As we were on the streets of Hoboken we found ourselves picking up all sorts of different items including tiny pieces of styrofoam, bottle caps, cigarette butts & cigarillo tips, plastic cups, plastic and glass bottles, coldstone ice cream cups , someone’s leftover dinner, a black sweater, an empty Ciroc bottle, lots of empty plastic water bottles, alcohol bottles and cans, diapers, tampons and various other random items including action hero muscle figures and pre-school children’s collections of sticks! We felt we were being loyal to the cause and to our local neighborhood! Some of the items we obviously didnt throw out, but what difference did we make? I asked this question to our members Liza & Jenn. Jenn Santiago cleaning up Hoboken What difference do you think we have made plogging these past two weeks? It’s always an incredible opportunity to serve the community we love and live in. Plogging has many great benefits that includes an intense workout, the opportunity to create community with others, and beautify the place we call home. Plogging has made Hoboken a lot cleaner and has also encouraged bystanders along our routes to participate in keeping our town clean. As the weeks have gone by we’ve noticed there’s been less litter on the ground because of our efforts and the awareness we have created in Hoboken. What is the most random item you picked up whilst plogging? The most random item I found was an action figure’s muscular arm! It was a great reminder that our service of picking up litter not only benefits and beautifies our town but ourselves too. Within these two weeks I have lost excess weight and have gained greater strength. Free and Fit has taught me to take care of the place we call home but also our bodies. I have obtained a healthier lifestyle and gained a clearer perspective about our environment too. Liza Cucco Plogging in Hoboken What difference do you think we have made plogging these past two weeks? When we went plogging 2 weeks ago, the river shoreline was so disgusting. We picked up so much trash, and I wondered if it would just be the same the next time. When we were back on Saturday, two weeks later, I noticed that while there was still the same amount of trash in the sidewalks and parks, the waterline was so much cleaner! We still had a lot to pick up, but I could totally tell that it takes months probably for the trash to accumulate on the shore and we made a real dent in that. The trash at the shoreline is obviously getting washed in from the river, and if everyone picked up a little bit of it, the waterfront would always be clean. The styrofoam breaks down so easily into such small pieces...it’s so dangerous for the fish and birds. Plogging has made me realize how essential it is to stop using styrofoam!!!! What is the most random item you picked up whilst plogging? Giant bundles of nylon string, weird styrofoam shapes, a half empty bottle of cheap